“The SPAR Women’s Challenge series is the biggest of its kind in the world,” said SPAR Eastern Cape marketing manager Martin Webber. “It’s also the country’s third largest athletics brand after Comrades and Two Oceans.”

He said the race formed part of the retailer’s commitment to sport in the province, which included sponsorship of the Redhouse River Mile open-water swim and SPAR-NMMU Netball Club.

Now in its 19th year, SPAR Eastern Cape’s flagship event includes both a 10km and 5km race, with total prize money exceeding R25 000.

For the elite athletes, the race also provides a chance to accumulate vital Grand Prix series points towards the overall prize of a Nissan Micra.

Webber said entries had opened this week and that forms were available at all SPAR outlets and online. “The main event is open to women aged 15 and older while any person over the age of nine may enter the shorter distance.

“It’s always great fun for the whole family and the best part is that it’s for a very worthy cause,” he said, referring to the event’s main beneficiary, the Yokhuselo Haven for victims of domestic violence.

Webber said only female participants would be eligible for the big lucky draw prize of a year’s worth of groceries valued at R15 000.

All finishers will receive medals, with t-shirts going to the first 11 000 entrants.

There would be additional incentives for participating schools and businesses, said Webber. “The primary school and company with the most entries each get R2 500, while the winning high school will receive a laptop from Core Technologies.”

The event, which has been organised by Walmer Athletics Club since its inception, departs from the Kings Beach car park and organisers have instituted a two-hour cut-off time for each race.

Both routes start on Beach Road and head towards Summerstrand, passing the Oceanarium before turning right into Second Avenue.

The 5km runners turn left into Brighton Drive and loop back towards Kings Beach, while the 10km participants continue on to Erasmus Drive and the halfway mark at Admiralty Way.

From there, they make their way back into Marine Drive for a straight run on the sea-side of the road towards the finish.

Get an entry form from any SUPERSPAR, SPAR and KWIKSPAR store or enter online at www.spar.co.za until Saturday, 28 April.