Pietermaritzburg has been replaced by Mbombela on the race schedule for this year’s SPAR Grand Prix series, which will take place in five different provinces.
Mbombela, the Mpumalanga capital and Lowveld city is an ideal venue, with its pleasant warm winter weather and low altitude giving the athletes the best possible chance of running excellent times.
“SPAR is well known for the promotion and development of women in sports, especially in grassroot areas,” said SPAR Lowveld Marketing Director Sean Komlosy. “This event will produce a solid foundation for the development and future sustainability of female athletes in Mpumalanga. We will also include differently-abled athletes in a non-elite race, which is a first for our province. For many women, running is their life, because it puts food on the table and each race of these series gives them that opportunity to work towards another pay day.“
The other women-only 10km races will be run in Gqeberha, Durban, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Cape Town. The first race, in Gqeberha, will be on May the 28th and the last in Cape Town on 23 October.
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Good news for the runners is that prize money has been increased to R170 000 for each race, with the winner receiving R30 000.
Entries for each race will be restricted to 500 runners, who will compete in the Open, Junior, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+ categories.
Points for the SPAR Grand Prix will be awarded to the first 20 runners in the Open category, with 20 points for the winner and one for the 20th-placed runner. Points will be awarded to the first five finishers in the age group categories.
For the first time since 2019, points will also be awarded to runners who achieve excellent times. In the age groups, five points will be awarded to all runners achieving the target time. In the Open group, there will be a two-tier system for bonus points, with 10 points for exceptional times and five points for slower, but still excellent times. Juniors will earn points from the Durban, Tshwane and Cape Town races.
In related news, the SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge will take place on Saturday 3 September and entries are open. SPAR encourages all women to gather their friends together, work out a route in their local community, and share the fun.
Lastly, SPAR have unveiled Superfine as a new partner of the Grand Prix Series. Superfine is an African lifestyle brand specialising in eyewear, timewear and personal accessories. The winner of each race will receive a substantial Superfine voucher and all category winners at the season’s end will walk away with prizes from Superfine.
“We are a brand born in Africa and are proud of it!” said Nigel Smit, MD of Superfine. “We are continually inspired by our country and her people. South Africa’s women’s top athletes complement our aims and objectives of being uncompromising in our drive to create high quality ‘personal treasures’ that stand the test of time.”
2022 SPAR GRAND PRIX CALENDAR
Saturday, May 28 – Gqeberha
Sunday, June 26 – Durban
Saturday, July 16 – Mbombela
Saturday, August 6 – Tshwane
Sunday, October 2 – Johannesburg
Sunday, October 23 – Cape Town
You can find out more at sparwomensrace.co.za.