Durban, South Africa:
The SPAR Women’s 10km Grand Prix series, now in its 17th year, continues to go from strength to strength and is now firmly established as a crucial part of women’s athletics in South Africa.
The prize money is outstanding, with the overall winner of the SPAR Grand Prix taking home R200 000. The runner-up will receive R100 000 and the third placed athlete will win R75 000.
This, of course, is additional to the substantial prize money for each individual race. The total 2024 SPAR Grand Prix prize money purse totals R2 million.
There are additional rewards on offer for South African runners. The South African woman with the most SPAR Grand Prix points will receive an additional R75 000, the second placed South African R50 000 and the third placed South African R30 000. And this year, there is an extra incentive for South African runners. The top South African in the SPAR Grand Prix series will be given the use of a new Proton SUV X50 for a year. She will receive the keys to the car at the SPAR Grand Prix Awards ceremony and return them at the ceremony next year.
Although there will be seven SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races in 2024, only five will be included in the SPAR Grand Prix. These are: Cape Town (March 24); Durban (June 23); Tshwane (August 3); Gqeberha (September 21) and Johannesburg (October 6). The other two races will be in Mbombela on July 13 and Pietermaritzburg on August 18.
The points structure remains the same as before, with points being awarded for places in each race, with the winner receiving 20 points and the 20th runner past the post one point.
In addition, runners can earn bonus points by completing the race within a certain time. The target times for 2024 are the same as those for 2023.
An athlete’s four best performances will count towards their final score, making it possible for elite athletes to miss a race without being disadvantaged. A number of runners may have to miss at least one race because of the Olympic Games in Paris from July 26 to August 11, while others may have other international duties.
SPAR Grand Prix coordinator Brad Glasspool pointed out that in 2023, when the best four performances out of six were counted, several athletes earned enough points in just three races to qualify for top SPAR Grand Prix positions.
SPAR National PR, Communications & Sponsorships Manager Mpudi Maubane says the SPAR Grand Prix and Women’s Challenge Series prove that the SPAR Group is not just paying lip service to women empowerment issues but is actively charting a course to become a leader in the South African transformational agenda by diversifying inclusion and industrialisation in the economy and society at large. “We take pride in our sponsorship of the SPAR Grand Prix, which is the countries and continent’s leading women-only road running series,” said Maubane.
“Through this investment, we do not only empower but we encourage women of all walks of life to lead and live a healthy lifestyle. “Our comprehensive strategy acts as a radar to identify short and long term opportunities within our communities and by working together with other stakeholders, we seek ways of addressing them.
“The SPAR Grand Prix complements our SPAR Women’s Challenge events held in the major centers of South Africa. Through the SPAR Grand Prix, we celebrate excellence in all age groups and reward dedicated runners with substantial prize money to help them to develop their running careers,” said Maubane.
The SPAR Grand Prix and Women’s Challenge Series is sanctioned by Athletics South Africa who are a partner with SPAR in the Series.
Entries for the first race on the 2024 calendar in Cape Town are open at https://www.sparwomensrace.co.za