SPAR Women’s Challenge 2014 Pretoria Officially Launched

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Yesterday the official launch for the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge in association with Jacaranda FM was held at Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria. The launch heralds the official opening of entries for the race. Among other announcements, the official race date was made public, this year’s theme revealed and the 2014 Brand Ambassadors were unveiled.

The sight of some 25 000 runners taking part in the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge each year is often referred to as “a sea of colour”. This year, that might literally be the case as bright blue t-shirts worn by SPAR staff at Atterbury Theatre unveiled 2014 colour. Key partners, sponsors, organising committee members, SPAR staff, celebrities, top runners and the media all joined in to officially kick off this year’s race.

Entries are Now Open

Entries are now officially open for the Pretoria Leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge, the biggest and most popular race in the SPAR Women’s Challenge Grand Prix series, which attracts a whopping 25 000 avid runners each year. “We are so excited at this time of year,” says Jerome Jacobs, Marketing Director at SPAR North Rand. “Once entries open we know that it is crunch time but at the same time we start to look forward to seeing all the ladies turn out on race day.”

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Entry costs R70 per person and entry forms are available at SPAR stores across Pretoria or online. Visit www.spar.co.za for more information. All participants will receive a t-shirt, a race number and a copy of My Race Magazine when they enter.

My Shoes, Your Shoes

The 2014 theme is My Shoes, Your Shoes. This concept invites all the race participants to think about what it means to walk in another woman’s shoes. “The phenomenon of 25 000 ladies running side by side, on a singular path striving for the same goal naturally led us to this theme for the 2014 race,” says Jacobs. “Last year we wanted every runner to think about what makes life beautiful, for the theme to become a celebration of everything that is good in life and for each participant to understand that every woman would have a different aspect of life that is beautiful for her. This year we want to build on that understanding and to take it further by asking participants to think about the woman running next to you – who she is and what her struggled might be.”

The theme is being backed by a social media campaign asking all women running in honour of someone who cannot – those literally running in another woman’s shoes – to share their stories on the SPAR Women’s Challenge Pretoria Facebook page.

2014 Brand Ambassadors

The 2014 Brand Ambassadors were chosen for their efforts in using their positions and success in life to make tangible changes to the world around them. They represent the spirit of the race and the epitome of the values it represents. This year’s group includes longstanding race patron Annie Malan, representatives of the Mrs United Nations initiative as well as Pretoria couple Pierre and Juanné Spies. Annie Malan has been the patron of the race over 5 years. She is a well known figure in South African film and television and is also a successful business woman. She has generously supported the race for all these years lending her positive outlook and vibrant image to the race brand. Mrs. United Nations South Africa is a national competition that gives married women a platform to make a difference in their communities, charities and families. Its founder, Zantie Swanepoel together with six Mrs UN Alumni (Ingrid Burger, Londiwe Moyane, Martha ‘Soso’ Thamae, Dr Toni Jay, Cindy Oosthuizen and Kona Brown) have come on board as brand ambassadors as a way of showing South African women that if you believe in change, anything can happen.

Pierre and Juanné Spies have also put their stamp on this year’s SPAR Women’s Challenge as brand ambassadors. Pierre and Juanné saw this year’s theme as a chance to represent and celebrate all the women who do for their husbands and partners, what Juanné does for Pierre. “I am sure that I am not the only woman who believes in supporting your husband and family. I am here to represent all the women who share these values and let them know that the role they play is not only recognised but appreciated,” says Juanné. They decided to represent the race as a couple as a reflection of their approach to life, love and marriage.

Fully committed to her role as a mother; breast cancer survivor and road safety activists, Zoleka Mandela’s life is a story she believes will change many lives. As a product of two legendary icons; former President of South Africa Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and freedom fighter, Nomzamo Winfred Madikizela Mandela, Zoleka’s social responsibility is tremendously inspired by her grandparents and their passion to bring about change. She envisions the awareness of breast cancer and road safety as by no means an obstacle on her road to extending her project work in South Africa but merely as preparation on her personal journey to counter act the lives lost due to road carnage and breast cancer. In sharing her story she hopes that her life will inspire people to follow many of their dreams.

A New 5km Start

The race now boasts a separate starting point for the 5km and 10km races. The 10km will start in South Street and the 5km will start in West Street. “After years of trying to make this happen, we have finally secured a separate start for the two races in order to better accommodate the thousands of participants,” says Jacobs. “It is important to us that all of our runners know how much effort we put into understanding their needs. From the novice runner to our major Grand Prix contenders, our goal is to ensure that every lady feels accommodated and that nothing gets in the way of them enjoying their race experience.”

The My Race Magazine

The official publication for the Spar Women’s Challenge, My Race, is back for the 2014. Now in its third edition, the magazine is jam-packed full of helpful articles to help participants get ready for race day. A complete race preparation guide will help entrants train for a 5 or 10km race and includes all you need to know from what to eat to what shoes to wear. Additional topics range from the top running watches to making time for you. Alongside this content, vital race information has also been included such as frequently asked questions and a map of Super Sport Park. The magazine will be distributed by providing each participant with a copy when they enter the race.

2014 SPAR Women’s Challenge Sponsors

An event of these proportions is impossible to carry off single handedly and that is where SPAR’s crucial race sponsors come into play. SPAR North Rand is fortunate this year to have been able to team up with a number of valued partners and sponsors. These include Super Sport Park, City of Tshwane, Jacaranda FM, Athletics Gauteng North, New Balance and Suzuki Montana as major partners as well as Gary Rom, Arial, Ultra Mel, Shield, Starke Ayres, Futurelife and Ava as sponsors. “We are so fortunate to have these companies on board because their contribution goes further than just helping to make the race itself happen. Their contributions mean that our race beneficiaries stand to benefit so much more from the race and at the end of the day, this what the event is all about – giving back to our local community,” says Retha Ingenbleek, Sponsorship Controller for SPAR North Rand.

Race Beneficiaries

All of these sponsors came together with SPAR to create a great event, not only for the runners, but for those who stand to benefit from the proceeds of the day as well. A percentage of the proceeds of the race will be divided among SPAR’s four beneficiaries – the Chrysalis Foundation, the Jacaranda Good Morning Angels and Helpnet.

The race organisers have tasked the Contracts Centre at Irene Homes in Pretoria East with packing some 25 000 goodie bags in time for the race. The Contracts Centre at Irene Homes is a Protective Work Centre ensuring a safe environment for residents and day workers who enjoy the social interaction and daily activities of the Workshop. The Contracts Centre is a registered Protective Day Centre serving 69 mentally and sometimes physically disabled men and women in a safe environment.

Good Morning Angels is a Jacaranda FM CSI initiative founded and spearheaded by Dianne Broodryk. The program is broadcast on The Complimentary Breakfast every Wednesday morning. Throughout the year, an average of between 60 and 70 individuals, families or community projects are helped, through the kindness of sponsors.

The Help-Net Fund is a non-profit organization that focuses on the care and rehabilitation of abused, neglected and abandoned children. The Help-Net Fund works to source the funds to establish SafeHouse places of safety countrywide. SafeHouse focuses their resources on care, love, provision of basic needs and healing tools such as counselling. You can play an important role in Help-Net’s funding structure by signing a debit order for the amount of your choice.

The Chrysalis Foundation is a life skills and finishing school course for girls from 14 to 18 who have been traumatised, and are living in children’s homes, places of safety or foster care. The purpose of the Chrysalis Foundation is to enable the girls to attain self respect and confidence and to reach their full potential. Several past students have secured good jobs and many have been successfully placed in rehabilitated parental or family care.

Race Day Details

The race will start at 14:00 on Saturday 30th August 2014 and takes place at Super Sport Park in Centurion. As always, the race will offer women the opportunity to partake in a 5km or a 10 km race, with the 10km challenge forming part of the SPAR Women’s Challenge Grand Prix Series, which has cash prizes at stake for the more advanced athletes amongst us. As always several local artists will entertain the crowds with live performances on race day and will set the stage for the handover of SPAR’s donations to the race beneficiaries.

On the day, all entrants will receive a goodie bag filled with wonderful products and all runners to cross the finish will receive a medal compliments of SPAR and the race sponsors. Families, groups and friends are encouraged to come and enjoy the day together – bring a picnic basket and make the most of this great event!

SPAR Women’s Challenge Background

The SPAR Women’s Challenge is the most popular and inclusive road race in South Africa, attracting the country’s top professional female athletes and a vast range of recreational runners. The race began in 1999 with just 600 entrants racing along the University of Pretoria’s Groenkloof Campus. Today, more than 25,000 entrants from around Gauteng run through Centurion’s streets, starting at Super Sport Park stadium and looping back along both a 5km and 10km route. Participants include Olympians, top age-group competitors, and many thousands who run for charity and to achieve their own personal goals. An estimated 15 000 spectators turn out in support of the event, along with hundreds of print and broadcast media. The Pretoria race is a key part of the SPAR Grand Prix series – the only competition of its kind in South African road running. It allows outstanding women runners to score points over the series of 5 SPAR Women’s 10km races, and be eligible for cash prizes and other rewards. The SPAR Women’s Challenge is the premier event of the Gauteng road running calendar.

Stay on top of the latest race news, enter exciting competitions and show your support by Liking the SPAR Women’s Challenge Pretoria Facebook Page or following @SPARladiespta on Twitter.

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