|South Africa's Most Beautiful Road Race|
"The SPAR Grand Prix is the only competition of its kind in South African road running. It allows outstanding women runners to score points over the series of 5 SPAR Women’s 10km races for prizes and awards. The objectives are:
- to consolidate the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge Series as the largest and most prestigious women’s road running series in the country.
- to encourage as many women runners as possible to enter the 5 SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races and to score points in the SPAR Grand Prix.
- to make the competition as inclusive as possible by offering runners in the various age categories an opportunity to compete within these categories.
- to improve the standard of the races by awarding bonus points for fast times, again within age categories."
It also raises money for charity. So, with all this in mind I entered Steve, along with me, into the Cape Town race as I believed it would be good training for him now that he had completed the Cycle Tour. Only problem was, as he is not a woman, we had to turn him into one, at least for that race! So, I very kindly agreed to make him a tutu. And a very nice looking tutu it turned out to be - pink, blue and white stripes, and very floaty. It went very well with his special blue SPAR race T-shirt, not to mention the black compression 'stockings'! What do you think???
|Before the Race|
We were originally going to travel to Cape Town on Saturday, register that same day and run the race the next day. However, we ended up going to Cape Town on Thursday evening instead. I had accepted a job on the Friday for a background part in a movie, which was to be filmed on the Friday, so after an early start we drove to Green Point to register for the race and then went on for a coffee so that I could start to feel nervous about the work I was about to do!
At 11:30, Steve dropped me off at the 'basecamp' at the Waterfront, where I was dressed, made up and fed, until it was time for us to get taken to the 'set'. I spent the rest of the day at the Gardens in Cape Town being part of a church congregation, and being 'converted' and 'protected' for a Sci Fi film! Great fun - and the food was wonderful! Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photos of any of the main cast - not that I knew who any of them were anyway. But, hey, what did that matter. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, ok it was rather windy, but I was in a stunning location and could see Table Mountain through the trees - a few wispy clouds drifting over it from time to time, and I could hear the birds singing.
Steve came to pick me up that evening and after a night of watching the last 'Frost' DVD and one of its three endings, we had a free day and went to the Waterfront for lunch. Very enjoyable.
Later that afternoon, we checked into a guesthouse we had booked so that we didn't have to get up quite so early the next morning for the race. Brilliant idea except that we were woken up at 5am by Steve's i-phone receiving an SMS from the SPAR Women's Race organisers - "Wakey, wakey, it's time to get up for the SPAR Women's race!"
|The Start - Green Point Stadium|
The race started at 7:30 - quite late really by South African standards! However, there were nearly 22,400 entrants, mostly women, so we weren't able to get anywhere near the start line until nearly 10 minutes after the gun went off. You were ok if you were an elite runner as you would have been standing at the front, but otherwise, it was a long wait. Eventually, we managed to shuffle over the start line and carried on walking for the next few kilometres. The start of the race took us through some rather narrow roads, which wasn't the best way to start a race with so many entrants, especially as it felt as if the majority of the entrants were walkers and not runners!
|Ready to Go|
We both spent the majority of the time weaving between walkers, and the runners were getting a bit annoyed at being held up so much by all the walkers. It is a shame that some sort of runners first, walkers ten minutes later hadn't been put into place but apart from getting frustrated with all of that, it was a beautiful day for a run along the seafront.
Steve eventually managed to push his way through the crowds of walkers and got complimented on his legs (well, that's what he told me anyway) and came back really excited by the fact that he had received lots of offers! Mmm, which ones to take up?!
Coming up the 'home straight' we joined up with the 5km walkers but by that time I wasn't stopping for anyone and crossed the finish line in about 1hr 12 minutes (ish!) Steve got back about 5 minutes before me - obviously, he was desperate to take up some of those offers and didn't want to miss out!
|The Medal - Well done!|
|We had a few other diners for lunch too!|