SPAR Spreads a Little Sunshine

Ready for South Africa’s Most Beautiful Virtual Challenge, the 2020 SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge are pictured from left: 2017 SPAR Grand Prix winner, Kesa Molotsane; South African Netball Captain, Bongi Msomi and Olympian athlete, Rene Kalmer. The SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge will take place in September this year. Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott.


SPAR Launches South Africa’s Most Beautiful Virtual Challenge

Johannesburg, South Africa: SPAR is aiming to put some sunshine back in your life during these challenging times with the SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge.

2020 has been a strange year, as the world struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. In South Africa, large gatherings have been banned until further notice, resulting in the cancellation of the six city SPAR Women’s Challenge series that make up the SPAR Women’s Grand Prix.

However, despite the cancellation of the ever so popular series, on September 26, women who would normally be taking part in the SPAR Challenges are asked to #BeSunshine by taking part in a SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge. Supported by the SPAR Inland region, women from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Free State, North West and Northern Cape will be able to enter South Africa’s most beautiful SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge with limited entries available for interested women in Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa Zulu Natal.

Women of all ages can run or walk any distance between 5km and 10km between six in the morning and six in the evening, and then post about their experiences on any platform, using the hashtags #BeSunshine or #SPARVirtualChallenge.

“2020 was meant to be a year of celebration, as we marked 30 years of our involvement in women’s road running,” said SPAR Group Marketing Executive Mike Prentice.

“We know that thousands of women look forward to taking part in the SPAR Women’s Challenge races and their associated Fun Runs each year, and so we have decided to run a virtual challenge to give women something to look forward to and a motive to exercise,” said Prentice.

“We also want to try to set a Guinness world record for the biggest women’s virtual challenge. Our target is 30 000 entries.

“We will also be giving hope and assisting survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) at the same time. GBV is a scourge in South African society and appears to have worsened during the national lockdown. We at SPAR want to do something to help the survivors, and all the money received from entry fees will be used to help them,” he said.

Race Ambassador Philicity Reeken (Jacaranda FM presenter, actress and GBV survivor) applauded SPAR in their strong stance against gender-based violence. “I’m so happy to see SPAR turn a spotlight on the scourge of GBV in this country and use their platform to support women.”

Entry to the SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge is R50, and for every entry, SPAR will donate a food parcel to a GBV survivor. Jacaranda FM’s Good Morning Angels will coordinate the distribution of the food parcels. Each entrant will also receive a limited addition race t-shirt, a lightweight buff and a race magazine.

There will be thirty ambassadors invited to promote the message and goodwill of the challenge. One of these is Rene Kalmer, who has been running in the SPAR Women’s Challenge 10km races for more than half her life and is also the first to win three SPAR Grand Prix titles.

“I love the Sunshine theme,” said Kalmer.

“The SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge colour yellow is a symbolisation of happiness, optimism and positivity. These have been dark days and we all need a little sunshine. It is also time for the athletes to give back to SPAR, who have supported us for the past 30 years. My fellow athletes and I will give the SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge our full support.”

“I am pregnant and will be well into my pregnancy by September 26, so I will be shuffling rather than running, but you can bet my family and I will be taking part and spreading some sunshine,” said Kalmer.

Captain of the SPAR Proteas netball team, Bongi Msomi, is another ambassador.

“I have taken part in SPAR Women’s Challenge series for the vibe and the party feeling, so I am excited to be an ambassador for the virtual challenge,” she said.

“GBV is a serious problem in South Africa and it is time we send messages to everyone, not just men, that it is not acceptable. I am happy to help survivors of GBV.”Msomi said the SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge would send a positive message at a time when people needed some sunshine in their lives.

On how to enter and obtain more information on the 2020 SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge go to