Perfect Fit for 25 000 at the Spar Women Challenge

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“Perfect fit” for 25 000 at the SPAR Women’s Challenge

For the last 15 plus years, the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge has brought 25 000 women from all walks of life together to partake in a 5 or 10km race. And every year, each and every woman leaves the race with so much more than she bargained for. Clad in a sea of bright blue, a record number of entrants gathered at SuperSport Park in Centurion on the 30th of August to contribute their share of beauty to what is already a beautiful event. And is safe to say that 25 000 plus “Cinderellas” found “their perfect fit” as they represented exactly what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes.“We could not have asked for a more perfect day,” muses Desmond Borrageiro, Managing Director of SPAR North Rand. “The weather was great, the atmosphere was electric and I am beyond proud to say that every single woman who partook in the challenge was a walking and talking ambassador of this year’s race theme: ‘My Shoes, Your Shoes’.”This year’s race theme, of course, challenged women to walk in the shoes of others. To take a page out of the book of the person who’s walking next to you, and to imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes before judging them. It’s a challenge which stretches far beyond sympathy, but rather calls for empathy, acceptance and above all things: love. Of course SPAR didn’t expect women to really swop tekkies, but the theme was carried across beautifully and written all over the smiling faces of women from all walks of life.“This year’s race was exceptionally well-organised and I felt moved by the countless stories which poured in on the race’s Facebook page from all over the country about women who were running in honour of someone who couldn’t,” says Pierre Spies, rugby legend and one of the race’s ambassadors. “We felt so honoured to be chosen as ambassadors for this year’s race and to help raise awareness as well as give back where we can – and in the end we were the ones who were blessed beyond measure,” reiterates his wife, Juanné.After the challenge, which had separate starting points this year for the 5km and 10km races to accommodate everyone, it was time for the prize giving, as well as the cash donation handover to SPAR’s beneficiaries. It is safe to say that many tears had to be swallowed back as Desmond handed over these donations, which are sure to go a very long way for charities such as the Help-Net Foundation as well as the Chrysalis Foundation. There was also not a dry eye in the house when Katleho, who received a new leg from SPAR, crossed the finish line of the 5km race – undoubtedly her first race of many with her new leg.“My hope, my dream for this year’s Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge was that at the end of race day, a spirit of giving and understanding would fill the stadium,” says Borrageiro. “We simply wanted everyone in the audience to walk away feeling as though they had been touched by a powerful feeling of togetherness – something which money cannot buy. And I believe this spirit of ubuntu – that feeling of ‘I am, because we are’ was felt by young and old.”Another highlight of the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge, was the Grand Prix Series aspect of the race, which offers some of the top athletes of our country the chance to compete against each other in a series of five 10km races hosted across the country. This challenge entices entrants to earn points based on their performances in each race, and ultimately stand in line to win a cash prize. The Grand Prix winner of the Pretoria 10km challenge was Irvette van Zyl, with a winning time of 33:32. This time is also a new course record.“On behalf of SPAR and all our key sponsors, we would like to congratulate Irvette van Zyl on a brilliant race,” concludes Desmond. “And we would like to thank each and every woman who came and supported us this year and who united her heart with SPAR’s to ensure that the SPAR Women’s Challenge islike her favourite pair of shoes: it fits just right. Special mention also needs to be given to the crew who ensured that the entire race was live streamed spar68


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