Call of the mountains

In May, South African mountaineer Remy Kloos was seemingly within touching distance of the summit of Mount Everest, when she was forced to abandon.

Although greatly disappointed, she has moved the end date of her ultimate goal, and in the meantime will be using running and hiking to make sure she is ready to tackle the world’s highest mountains. – By Sean Falconer

Running there… And back again!

These are strange times to be a road runner, and there are some really interesting running challenges being dreamt up, like the recent Cape to Mossel Bay Virtual Challenge. At just under 400km, it was already one of the longest virtual races on the calendar, but when Ismail Isaacs won the event, being the first to ‘run to Mossel Bay,’ he did the natural thing and promptly started ‘running back again!’ – By PJ Moses

Law Firm Lodges Challenge for Spar Virtual

As the entry deadline draws near, BLC Attorneys have placed on record an official challenge to the Eastern Cape corporate world to throw its weight behind the SPAR Virtual Women’s Challenge on September 4.

The Gqeberha lawyers have a long association with the Women’s Challenge and director Laurika von Alleman said they would again be out in force to support the event, even in its virtual form.

Entries for the run, which will be held in six regions countrywide, have a strict deadline of August 15 and no latecomers will be accepted.

SPAR Eastern Cape are encouraging companies, schools and other organisations to join thousands of runners and walkers on the day.

“With just a few days before entries close, whatever role you play in society, we would love to have you on board,” said SPAR EC promotions and events manager Alan Stapleton.

“Whether it be on your own, with your family and friends, or challenging your staff, sports friends or colleagues, let’s use this opportunity to reunite and reignite that South African passion of togetherness.”

BLC Attorneys have embraced that call and Von Allemann said they challenged others “in the commercial space to also get involved”.

“We have been entering the challenge for at least 15 years, always running as a group and there is no reason why we shouldn’t do it in this virtual format.

“We have 17 participants at this stage and have an internal challenge on the go, but we also encourage other corporates to enter in numbers and to let us know how they do.”

Besides the camaraderie the day creates, Von Allemann said they were also aware of the significant impact the event made to society, with charity organisations benefitting from donations and sanitary pads being made available for schoolgirls around the region.

Stapleton confirmed the difference the run could make after three regional events in Tshwane, Johannesburg and the Lowveld combined last year to donate over 30 000 food parcels to survivors of gender-based violence and people living in challenging circumstances.

“This year we’re going even bigger, collaborating with six SPAR regions to create the country’s biggest virtual challenge to date,” he added.

“Our theme is #LiveLimitless as we plan to inspire women to answer the call to adventure, to aspire to their highest excitement and to live their best, limitless lives. With this theme there is an underlying universal message of coming together, supporting each other to shatter any glass ceilings, facing our fears and redefining our own limits.”

Through the #LiveLimitless theme and initiatives, he said there were several objectives:

“First is to help people less fortunate than ourselves. For every single person that enters, a pack of sanitary pads will be donated to help keep a girl in school. We also want to highlight the many great South Africans who have achieved extraordinary things and lived limitless lives, despite their circumstances, to inspire and uplift others. And we want to encourage all participants to #LiveLimitless, embrace optimism and positive perspectives and fulfil their best potential.”

New Dates for SPAR Grand Prix 10km Races!

The opening race in this year’s Grand Prix series – the Durban SPAR Grand Prix – had to be postponed at the eleventh hour because of a spike in Covid-19 cases and subsequent lockdown restrictions. The Durban race will now take place at North Beach in Durban on September 11.

The series will kick off on Sunday August 22, with the Pietermaritzburg SPAR Grand Prix at Alexandra Park.  SPAR decided to keep the original date in a bid to create some positive energy in the one of the cities worst hit by the recent looting and unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.  The Cape Town SPAR Grand Prix will take place at the Greenpoint Stadium on Saturday September 4, followed by the Durban race a week later. The Tshwane Grand Prix, which normally takes place at Supersport Park in August, has been moved to the Agricultural Research Council farm in Irene and will be run on Friday September 24, National Heritage Day.

The SPAR Grand Prix series normally ends in Johannesburg, but things are slightly different this year.  The Joburg race will take place at Marks Park on Sunday October 3 and the series will end at the Nelson Mandela University campus in Gqeberha on Saturday October 9.

Each race will be by invitation only, and will be limited to 250 runners.  Because there were no races in 2020, this year there will be no time incentive bonus points. However, Grand Prix points will be awarded to the first 25 runners home in the open category, and not the first 20, as in previous years.  There will also be an additional age group category, namely for runners over 70.

There is substantial prize money on offer, amounting to a total of two million Rand. The winner of the SPAR Grand Prix after the six races will take home a cheque for R185 000.

One of the benefits of the revised calendar is that the SPAR Grand Prix Series starts two weeks after the end of the 2020 Olympics. This means that runners who competed in Tokyo can return in time to compete in Pietermaritzburg and the remaining of the SPAR Grand Prix races.

Strict Covid-19 protocols will be followed at all the races, and no spectators will be allowed. However, the races will be live-streamed  and runners can be tracked live using the SPORTSPLITS App.

2021 SPAR GRAND PRIX CALENDAR

Sunday, 22 August – Pietermaritzburg

Saturday, 4 September – Cape Town

Saturday, 11 September – Durban

Friday, 24 September – Tshwane

Sunday, 3 October – Johannesburg

Saturday, 9 October – Gqeberha

 

What a comeback!

Every runner dreams of having that perfect race, when you feel like you could run all day. For Irvette van Zyl, 23 May was one of those days,
and it brought her an unexpected new IAU 50km World Record. Not just because she was supposed to withdraw after setting the pace for
30km, but because just over a year ago she thought her running career may be over. – By Sean Falconer