ENTRIES are now open for this year’s Maritzburg Spar Women’s 10/5km Challenge, which takes place around Alexandra Park in the capital city on Sunday, August 20. An expected field of 4 500 runners and walkers will take the challenge over the 10km and 5km distances along the same routes as the past two years. The start is alongside Maritzburg College’s main rugby field, Goldstones, in Princess Margaret Drive, ending at The Oval, with both the 10km and 5km races beginning simultaneously at 8am.Participants of 10km will run the first 4.5km of the race with the 5km participants, taking them around Alexandra Park and the outskirts of the CBD down Alan Paton Avenue, into Burger, Peter Kerchhof and, Jabu Ndlovu streets and down West Street with a left turn into Park Drive. The 5km race participants will then turn into The Oval and the 10km athletes will follow another 5km loop around the Maritzburg College and Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High precincts, before returning to The Oval. With this being the first time this leg of the country’s “most beautiful race” is being included in the nationwide Spar Grand Prix series, which has R173 000 in prize money, a number of top athletes are expected to gather in the city to attempt to improve their points standing on the log. Currently the Spar Grand Prix leader board has Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) in first place with 78 points, Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) in second place with 57 points and Lebogang Phalula in third place with 51. Prize money has increased significantly this year with the open category offering R10 000, second position R7 500 and third R5 000 with various other age category prizes across the board. Choc (The Childhood Cancer Foundation) is the official race charity and R2 from every entry will be donated to them. Last year the race entries clock up R8 000 in donations to this important organisation that supports children with cancer and their families.Entries to the 10km distance are open from age 14 and to the 5km from age nine, the age restrictions being applicable on the day of the competition. Entry for the 10km for licensed participants and 5km participants is R100 per person. Non-licensed participants in the 10km pay R110 each, which includes a temporary licence for the race.There are two options available for entries - the first is online at www.sparwomensrace.co.za/maritzburg where one can either pay by EFT (entries close on August 7) or by credit card (entries close August 14). The second option is a manual entry at race registration on Friday August 18 (10am to 5pm) and Saturday August 19 (10am to 3pm) at The Oval in Alexandra Park. Entries are limited to the first 4 500 confirmed entrants. Groups of 10 or more can enter through the “bulk entries” option by emailing email@example.com for more information. Bulk entries close on August 7. For more information, contact the organisers on firstname.lastname@example.org, contact 064 073 3889 or visit the official race website - www.sparwomensrace.co.za or like the Facebook page. - Supplied.