Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 30 April 2012

Spar Women's Challenge - The Good, Bad & Ugly

The Spar Ladies Race - or Spar Woman's Challenge as it is now known - is a regular on my running calendar. This year was my 7th time running it. Wow, have I been running for that long now?!

At last year's Spar Ladies Race I managed my personal best time over 10kms. So I was quite looking forward to it. The boys also competed for the first time last year, and have carried on entering and enjoying races since, so they took part again this year.

Sadly this year the race was really not that well organised. Actually that is a major understatement, it was actually pretty badly organised! They changed venue, and didn't seem to publicise it much at all. I just happned to find out the day before that it had moved. I wonder just how many people drove off to the old venue to either register or worse on the actual day!? Then the logistics of the new venue just did not work at all. Which was further escalated and compounded by rain on the day, too many people and then marshals who totally lost control, of the crowds and then themselves too. It turned out to be pretty horrid in the end unfortunately.

My dear school and running friend Lindy died tragically a week before, and I was running this race in memory of her, so it was also pretty emotional. So when acompletely over-wrought marshal yelled at me persistently and got quite aggro when I was looking for the boys in the mob and mayhem at the finish, I ended up breaking down in tears and sobbing my heart out.

Also, I was still stiff and sore - a full week later - for the Two Oceans Half (still need to blog about that too!), so I didn't really enjoy the actual running either.

Hopefully they will have learned some lessons, because despite the rain there was some serious bad planning, like a severe bottle neck at the start - 2 turns within the first 100m!? WHY!!?? So it was impossible to get going or pass anyone I wasted literally miuntes just trying to get going in the begining. There were also marshal along the route insisting on herding people into narrow sections. I eventually got the hell-in and just ran around them. Then there was a bottle neck at end too, so people had to queue for ages to pass the finish line. And probably the STUPIDEST thing... anyone wanting to leave at the end had to cut across where the runners were coming in, and this was a bottle-neck too. Adding the rain and cold to all of that and it was literally mayhem. People were cursing and shoving adn it was just not a nice fun or pleasant vibe at all.

So the boys and I got the hell out of there as soon as we could and had a nice breakfast elsewhere.

Usually we'd stay on and have a really enjoyable morning at the race enjoying the festivities.
Anyway, I'm sure we'll be back again next year...

My results over the 7 years I have run this race are as follows:

Spar Ladies Race 2006:Total number of 10km finishers = 4351
- Me - #469 = 00:58:12 - so I just missed the top 10%.

Spar Ladies Race 2007:
Total number of 10km finishers = 3957 
- Me - #204 = 00:54:16 - so I shaved nearly 4 minutes off my time, even though the course was tougher. I finished in the top 5.5% :)

Spar Ladies Race 2008:
Total number of 10km finishers = 4847
- Me - # 177 = 00:52:26 - top 3.65%

Spar Ladies Race 2009:
Total number of 10km finishers = 4667
- Me - # 148 = 00:51:35 - top 3.17%  

Spar Ladies Race 2010:
Total number of 10km finishers = 6509
- Me - # 212 = 00:53:02 - top 3.25%

Spar Ladies Race 2011:
Total number of 10km finishers = 9093
- Me - # 158 = 00:50:45 (officially listed as 51:01) - top 1.75%  << still my Personal BEST :)
Spar Ladies Race 2012:
Total number of 10km finishers = 9497
- Me - # 206 = 00:53:08 - top 2.19% (But I could have done better!!!)


  1. Firstly... Well done!!!

    I entered this year for the first time and although thoroughly enjoyed it at a fast paced walk, you are absolutely right... damn bad organising. As it was my first time I thought this was par for the course ('scuse the pun) and was quite shocked that such a large event was so badly planned. It is a relief to learn by what you've said that this is not actually a given. So, see you next year and hope to then be running it as well as the Two Oceans Half Marathon.

    I have to share with you Jane, that you are the soul inspiration for me going back to running after almost 15 years. I was a runner in my teens and early twenties and was aiming for the Two Oceans then. I was doing between 7km -10km per day, Mon-Fri but varsity took prevalence and that was then.

    I have now been with Run/Walk for Life for 6 months and am absolutely loving it. I have done 4 10km races since then, although at a fast walk, I know I will get there (running) and the Two Oceans Half next year is seeming very obtainable.

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  2. Thanks Charmaine. Love the feedback it helps to keep me motivated and inspired too! Hope to see you out there soon! :)