Thirty years of fun running

2019-06-12 06:01
Iconic Durban race: The Durban SPAR Women’s 10/5km celebrates its 30th anniversary on June 23. The iconic race has its beginnings in surf city and is now also a popular annual event in Pietermaritzburg and other cities. Pictured here jumping to it are Durban runners (left to right) Ma-khosi Mhlongo, Blanche Moila, Carey-Lea Tarboton and Grace De Oliveira.PHOTO: Val Adamson

Iconic Durban race: The Durban SPAR Women’s 10/5km celebrates its 30th anniversary on June 23. The iconic race has its beginnings in surf city and is now also a popular annual event in Pietermaritzburg and other cities. Pictured here jumping to it are Durban runners (left to right) Ma-khosi Mhlongo, Blanche Moila, Carey-Lea Tarboton and Grace De Oliveira.PHOTO: Val Adamson

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ENTRIES are open for the much-loved Durban SPAR Women’s 10/5km Challenge, the race that started the now-iconic national women’s running event, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year on Sunday, June 23.

The challenge, has over the years, seen hundreds of South Africa’s top athletes, including a number of distinguished Olympians, take the honours.

Many of the sportswomen who have appeared in the top three of the race, are written in the annals of SA road-running history, including the likes of Zola Budd-Pieterse, Poppy Mlambo, Gwen Griffiths (van Lingen), Carlien Cornelissen, Nicole Fuller, Tanith Maxwell, the Kalmer sisters —Rene and Christine, the Phalula sisters — Lebogang and Lebo-Diana, Irvette van Zyl and Nolene Conrad, to name a few.

This list, of course, includes two Durban favourites, Blanche Moila, who has appeared in the top three twice, and Grace de Oliveira who won twice (1994 and 1995) and appeared in the top three four times. Both have run all races since its inception.

The inaugural event has come a long way since it began in 1990 with field of 2 200 when the now USA-based SA athlete Colleeen de Reuck won in a time of 34:16. Fast track to 2018, where Zimbabwean-based Betha Chikanga shaved off 1:09 from that time, bagging the win at 33:07 in a field of close to 14 000 participants.

Historically, the race route has remained fairly consistent around the Durban beachfront and CBD.

The record time is still held by de Reuck who clocked in at 31:38 in 2000, followed in 2009 by Rene Kalmer with 32:27 and in 1991 by Gwen Griffiths (van Rensburg) with 32:28.

“Over 29 years more than 330 000 women and girls, including a smattering of some rather enthusiastic men, have beaten a track around the city in a show of camaraderie, and spirit,” says Max Oliva, MD of SPAR KZN.

“We look forward to continuing this wonderful, colourful journey with thousands more like-minded fitness enthusiasts for many, many more years to come.”

This year the race route remains the same as last year starting off in Masabalala Yengwa Avenue opposite the outer fields of Jonsson Kings Park Rugby Stadium, which is also the finish.

To celebrate 30 years on, SPAR will award the winner of this race R30 000, as well as the usual cash category prizes.

Elite runners participating in the SPAR Women’s 10km Grand Prix Series will be vying to increase their standings on the leaderboard.

Currently Namibian runner Helalia Johannes (Nedbank) is in pole position having won the Port Elizabeth race on May 4 in a regional record time of 31:50 minutes.

Participants will receive a breakfast pack upon completion of the event, and are encouraged to remain after the race and enjoy the entertainment on offer, with some big lucky draw prizes up for grabs.

Entry fees are R145 for a 10km non-licensed entrant, which will include a temp licence, R120 for a 10km licensed entrant and R120 for all 5km entrants. — Supplied.

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