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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'We take pride in our sponsorship' - 2024 SPAR Grand Prix dates confirmed with more money for SA Athletes

Updated: Feb 3

When he delivered his keynote address at the Athletics South Africa awards on Saturday night (27 January), ASA President James Moloi thanked all of the corporate sponsors that have supported athletics in the country. In the post-Covid ere, many sponsor have returned to the sport including the likes of Absa while new ones like Balwin Properties have come on board. But there is one partner that has stood the test of time as a faithful supporter of women’s athletics in particular. SPAR have been involved in SA road running for over 30 years now and will continue to do so in 2024 and beyond.

Acknowledging the massive and long-standing contribution to athletics made by the retail giant, Moloi presented SPAR with a recognition award at the awards dinner which took place at the Southern Sun, OR Tambo.Accepting the award, SPAR National PHR, Communications and Sponsorship Manager, Mpudi Maubane, said SPAR was very appreciative of the recognition by ASA.

Glenrose Xaba, Tayla Kavanagh and Gerda Steyn in action in the 2021 SPAR Grand Prix. SPAR has sponsored women's road running in SA for over 30 years. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

"We value our partnership with ASA. SPAR has sponsored women’s road running for 35 years and is one of ASA’s longest standing sponsors. Through our investment we have empowered women, encouraged a healthy lifestyle and provided many talented South African and African women to achieve on the national and international stage," said Maubane.

And just days after receiving that award, SPAR underlined their commitment by launching the 17th edition of the SPAR Women’s 10km Grand Prix series. Boasting a total prize purse of R2 million, this year’s Grand Prix winner will run away with R200 000, R100 000 for the runner-up and the third placed athlete will win R75 000. There are also additional rewards on offer for South African runners, with the top SA woman taking home an extra R75 000, R50 000 for the second and R30 000 for the third placed SA athlete. In a year when many will be in Paris for the Olympic Games, athletes will be pleased to hear that only the four best performances will count towards their final score, making it possible for elite athletes to miss a race without being disadvantaged.

Maubane accepts ASA's Recognition Award on behalf of SPAR. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

Maubane says the SPAR Grand Prix and Women’s Challenge Series prove that the SPAR Group is not just paying lip service to women empowerment issues but are putting their money where their mouths are. "We take pride in our sponsorship of the SPAR Grand Prix, which is both SA and Africa’s leading women-only road running series. Through this investment, we do not only empower but we encourage women of all walks of life to lead and live a healthy lifestyle. Through the SPAR Grand Prix, we celebrate excellence in all age groups and reward dedicated runners with substantial prize money to help them to develop their running careers," said Maubane.

Although there will be seven SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races in 2024, only five will be included in the SPAR Grand Prix. These are: Cape Town (March 24); Durban (June 23); Tshwane (August 3); Gqeberha (September 21) and Johannesburg (October 6).  The other two races will be in Mbombela on July 13 and Pietermaritzburg on August 18. The points structure remains the same as before, with points being awarded for places in each race, with the winner receiving 20 points and the 20th runner past the post one point. In addition, runners can earn bonus points by completing the race within a certain time.

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