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18 September 2019

Graphic designer Sarah Ayres is a busy mother of two small children.  She has also been named the 2019 Face of the Race for the SPAR Women’s Challenge Joburg at Marks Park Sports Club on October 6.

Ayres was one of five finalists in the Face of the Race competition in Get It magazine. The Face of the Race was not a beauty competition.  Instead, entrants were asked to provide information about what they were doing for their community.  The Greater Johannesburg area was divided into five areas – north, south, east, west and Soweto and a winner was selected from each of these areas, with Ayres, who represented Joburg West, winning the overall competition.
The other finalists were Joburg North: Holly Gxubane; Joburg South: Busisiwe  Nobela; Joburg East: Alicia Chelsea; Soweto: Chwayita Gugwini. Each of the five women will bring along a member of their community to the SPAR Challenge and all 10 will be given VIP treatment throughout the day.

Ayres says she started running because she and her husband had acquired a very active German short-haired pointer, which needed plenty of exercise.
“I started off by going for walks with him, and then eventually I started running,” she explained.
“At first I was just going round the block, but as time went on I was able to go further and for longer times.  When I was at school, I had problems with my knees and ankles, which prevented me from doing much sport, but now, because I started slowly and built up gradually, my body is strong and so are my knees and ankles.”

Ayres started a WhatsApp group to encourage other young mothers to get out and about. “Initially, it was just a couple of other moms from the school, but the group has grown and we now have 50 members.  We exchange tips and encourage each other to keep going.  They are not all young mothers – we are available for anyone who is just starting to get regular exercise,” she said.
Ayres said she initially ran about a kilometre twice a week, but is now doing four to six kilometres three times a week.
“I am running my first 10km trail run at the school on Saturday and I am really looking forward to doing the SPAR Challenge.  My dad will run with me, and my mom is going to walk the 5km Fun Run.  Quite a feew of my friends will also be taking part.”

The five area winners have all undertaken to support the Drop a Pair and Show you Care campaign, whereby runners are asked to bring an old pair of trainers to the race to be handed on to women and girls who have no running shoes.

“I have been promoting it via social media and I have also put up posters at the school.  I have offered to collect the shoes to take along on race day,” said Ayres. “I think it’s a great initiative and I am very happy to be part of it.”

Extended Entry Deadline
The Race Organisers of the upcoming SPAR Women’s Joburg Challenge has decided to extend their entry deadline.
With less than three weeks to go organisers have confirmed that the closing date for online pre-entries have been extended until midnight Thursday September 26.
SPAR has made it so easy for you this year.  Entry forms are available at all SPAR stores, and you can actually register for the race at many of these stores until Tuesday 1st October.
The stores where you can register are listed on the entry form and can be found in Joburg and Tshwane, and as far away as Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, Secunda, Vereeniging and Sebokeng. This means you can collect your race t-shirt, race number (with timing chip) and temporary licence, if applicable.  That saves you having to go to Marks Park Sports Club in the days before the race to register.
However late entries will be taken at Marks Park Sports Club from Wednesday 2 to Saturday 5 October 2019.

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