Twenty years of fun-filled road running with be celebrated by the participants of this years Durban Spar Ladies race which fittingly be using the Moses Mabhida Stadium complex for the 2010 edition.
The race which has become an icon on the Kwazulu Natal Athletics fixture list has been moved back from the original August 1 date to 29 August to allow for longer organisational time after the world cup and to align with the Chesterville athletic club race date.
This year the Spar sponsorship has taken on a more holistic and far-reaching impact on local athletics, with their commitment to the club which hence-forth will be known as the Spar Chesterville athletic club (SCAC) and will benefit not only from new branded kit, but also financial support for a range of projects aimed to assist the development of the club and its members.
The race and development project has the full support and partnership with the City of Durban and sees the return of sponsors East Coast Radio and The Mercury who were lost to the sport when the event was organised by KZNA office.
“We are really pleased to be partnering with the City of Durban for this event. It is a major KZN event which attracts many visitors,” said Spar KZN MD Rob Philipson. “(The SPAR Chesterville Athletic Club) is an historic club, with an enthusiastic and inspired committee who are eager to develop more runners of standing in the city.”
Phillipson’s enthusiasm for the event was echoed by Ethekweni Municipal Mayor Obed Mlaba. “Following on our success in hosting the Fifa World Cup Soccer we have shown the world what we are capable of, this and the promises of a possible Olympic bid, means that we are now more determined than ever to promote the city as Africa’s Sports Capital. We are really pleased to be a partner in this event which is also one of the first big events to make use of the People’s Park, a place for our community.”
The flat fast beachfront course has been amended to start outside the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium and finish at the brand new People’s Park giving participants the opportunity to be some of the first to use these facilities outside the world cup.
As in previous years both a 10km and 5km distance will be on offer, with substantial prize money for the leading senior and age category 10km runners. In addition every finisher will receive a breakfast pack after crossing the finish line.
2009 Durban Spar winner, Rene Kalmer, who has been setting personal bests at a diversity of distances from 1500m to 10km in USA and Europe will head the elite field which combines the best in the province with the best in the country. Tanith Maxwell, the top SA Marathoner, will spearhead the local challenge but the province has useful strength in depth with Danielle Adlam, Cary-Ann Smith, Maya Lawrie, Janine Carey and Savage’s Nkosi Mhlongo which should ensure a fair spread of the awards being kept in local hands.
However the ladies challenge is equally a popular social and team-building festival which last year drew a field of 12 373 women, 4,388 of whom opted for a run and walk in the 5km.
In the past Durban has attracted the record field of lady runners, but recent years this event dropped to third place in the series: something that the 2010 event hopes to turn around.
With the wide open traffic free roads and the opportunity of running next to the Indian Oceans it is not surprisingly that many consider the Durban leg of the Spar series to be the most beautiful, and it is expected that the new 2010 stadium venue will contributed to these numbers being exceeded.
This year the total number of participants will be limited to 15,000 runners and registration will be closed once these places have been taken, so the message from the organisers has been to enter early and certainly before the 24 August cut off date.
In a move to make the race more technically efficient, Mr Price will be providing chip timing to the 10km participants and entries to the race will be handled directly through a network of Spar outlets in addition to the on line facilities on www.spar.co.za.
Participants will be required to collect their race numbers and information from Suncoast Casino on Friday and Saturday 27 and 28 August and the 10km race will commence at 09:00 on Sunday morning with the 5km going under the gun at 09:45