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The Joburg SPAR Women’s Challenge, to be held at Marks Park Sports Club on Sunday October 6, will be all about runners giving back to their community.
Five very special women will be joining forces and running together on the day. They are the five area winners of the Face of the Race competition, promoted by Get It magazine in conjunction with SPAR. Each will bring along a member of their community and the 10 will be given VIP treatment throughout the day.

The Face of the Race competition is not a beauty competition. Instead, entrants were asked to provide information about what they were doing for their community and how if they were named Face of the Race would contribute to the uplifting of women. The Greater Johannesburg area was divided into five areas – north, south, east, west and Soweto and a winner was selected from each of these areas, with one woman to be named the Face of the Race. The winner named Face of the Race for 2019/2020 was Sarah Ayres of the Westrand.

As well as working for their community initiatives, the five winners have also thrown their weight behind the “Drop of a pair to show you care” campaign. Runners are asked to drop off old running shoes, which can be passed on to runners who cannot afford to buy running shoes. Since the campaign was first launched in 2015, hundreds of pairs of shoes have been donated to needy runners.
As always, the designated charity is Reach for Recovery, a support group for women who have had mastectomies. It is run by volunteers who have all had mastectomies themselves and so are able to provide counselling and advice. They also provide pretty floral bags to carry the drains, soft underarm cushiops and prostheses for women who cannot afford them.
The 2019 Joburg race is special for another reason as well. The doyenne of road runners, Sonja Laxton, who has represented South Africa in road running, on the track and in cross country, will be running her 100th SPAR race.

This will be the third year the Joburg race has been run from Marks Park and the new venue has proved very popular with the women of Gauteng. The route passes through the leafy suburbs of Emmarentia and Greenside, taking in pretty gardens, some famous schools and the beautiful Parkview golf course. The 5km Fun Run takes in the peaceful Emmarentia Dam and the adjoining Botanical Gardens.

The Joburg race is the last in the series of six races that make up the SPAR Grand Prix. The winner of the Grand Prix will be known after the race. Currently, the log leader is Namibian sensation Helalia Johannes, but if she does not run in Johannesburg, her nearest rival, Ethiopian junior Tadu Nare could snatch victory away from her. Johannes is running in the world marathon championship in Doha, Qatar, at the end of September, and may decide that her body cannot take the strain of a 10km race so soon after the marathon. So the destination of the 2019 SPAR Grand Prix remains in the balance.
SPAR Advertising and Promotions Manager, Piet van Vuuren says the Joburg Challenge is a favourite sponsorship for the grocery giant.

“The majority of our customers are women, and we see the Challenge races as an opportunity to give something back to the community,” said van Vuuren.
“It is a fun day out for the whole family, with a top line-up of live entertainment. October is a lovely month in Joburg, so we urge as many people as possible to come along and take the Challenge,” he said.

Entry forms are available from all SUPERSPAR, SPAR and KWIKSPAR stores, or online at

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