CAPE TOWN – The SPAR Women’s Challenge in Cape Town – to be held early next month – has been cancelled due to continued fears surrounding the Coronavirus, SPAR Western Cape announced on Wednesday.
This follows on a decision to postpone the Port Elizabeth race, which was due to occur on Saturday, was reached a day before.
The postponement and cancellation of the two races, respectively, was reached after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced strict measures and steps to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this week.
"In the light of the statements from the government and the limitations imposed on sports events the races will be postponed," said the SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorship and events manager, Alan Stapleton.
A date of October 17 has been set to run the race in PE, with Stapleton stating: “Further developments will be communicated to the community and all other role-players once they are finalised."
SPAR Western Cape advertising manager, Elsabe van Zyl-Felix, meanwhile, expressed her disappointment at the outright cancellation of the Cape Town race.
"It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to cancel the event for this year. The race has a loyal following and we are mindful of how disappointed the women who have entered will be," said Van Zyl-Felix.
The Women’s Challenge offers 10km and 5km distances and is hosted annually in six different cities. No news, at the time of publishing, had been communicated regarding the races in – Tshwane, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg.
On the Durban race, Mike Prentice, the SPAR group marketing executive, said further details will be confirmed at a later stage
"We will review the situation in six weeks and make any further announcement then, when we will also announce a decision on the Durban Women’s Challenge, which is scheduled for the end of June."
Prentice also explained the reasoning behind their decision regarding the two events.
"We live in uncertain times. We have to act in accordance with the Government’s directives, and with the best interests of all South Africans in mind," said Prentice. "Our chief concern is the health and safety of everyone."
With the Cape Town race – which was to be held on april 4 – now cancelled, organisers revealed that they would refund the R120 entry fee to all entrants and also honour their commitments to their race beneficiaries, donating R100 000 each to Operation Smile SA as well as the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children.