Just a week after the first race of the Spar Community Challenge, we were at it again! On the 7th May 2022, I participated in the Challenge’s second race at Airport Junction Mall. This is a 9-part running series with monthly runs from April until December, with two distances to choose from – 5K and 10K. There is a leader board for each race (and series) with overall winners to be announced at the final race. There are also spot prizes and finisher medals at each event. The challenge is in support of the Gamodubu community about 25km from Gaborone.
I have my eye on a couple of Half Marathons outside of Gaborone – one is the Orange Phikwe Race on the 23rd July and the other is the Palapye Race on the 6th August. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I’m following a structured training programme and hoping to tackle both these Halves when the time comes. In the meantime, I’m using this series to keep me focused and motivated, and also to test out my speed which has suffered greatly in the last year.
As last week, the 10km race was to start at 06:15. We left the house at 05:55 which gave us plenty of time to warm up. My knee had felt funny on Thursday’s run so I did some dynamic stretches and then a short jog in the parking area until it felt well “oiled”! When we approached the gantry, I was so surprised to see my cousin Tapiwa. You may recognise her name – when I started running in 2017, I would do two runs/week with her. It was a way to catch up but it created such consistency and accountability which helped to cement my running journey. She hasn’t run in about 18 months so she said this race was to shock her system back into running!
Although we started at the same place as last week, the route was different – instead of running on the Phakalane Road, we headed onto the Airport Road, for an out and back, and mostly on trail! Having not seen Tapiwa in ages, our first 5km were conversational with paces, 7:32/ 8.07/ 8:04/ 7:44/ 7:33 (min/km). After the fourth km, we headed onto tar and turned around close to the 5km mark. Around 5km, Tapiwa told me to push ahead, so I switched on my music player for some extra motivation. In the second half, I managed 6:52/ 7:07/ 7:04/ 6:53 up to km 9. Around 7.5km, I spotted my friend Polelo with her husband and 3 year old son! They were doing the 5km course. As I neared the end, I realised the course was short so with the last stretch of 470m, I really stepped it up and was very pleased with a 5:52 pace effort!
My overall pace at 7:21min/km was slower than last week but I was still happy with my effort. I almost forgot about the medal at the end until a lady found me as I was walking away!
We waited for Tapiwa and Polelo to finish and then took photos. I had to include the fun photo-bomb from one of the race organisers! As last week, we were so excited to be back racing again!
My main feedback would be for the course to be measured more carefully – this one ran about half a km shorter. On a personal level, I didn’t mind as my schedule was to do 8.1km. But aside from this, it was another great event – much better starting time than last week, well-stocked water points and again very friendly marshals and policemen. One policeman even cheered me on as I crossed the road! I suspected the medal shape would be the same but was hoping the colour would be different from last week’s medal – and it was! It’s the small things for me!
There are still seven (7) runs to go! If you’d like to register, you can do so at SPAR stores (Kgale, Village, Airport Junction and Acacia), GRIP Runner (Sebele Mall) or online at http://www.ucbtiming.co.bw. Cost per race is P150 with proceeds going to charity. Next race is on the 18th June so plenty of time to get ready! I hope to see even more people there!
Are you taking part in the Spar Challenge Series? What’s your favourite distance? What goals are you working on?
I’m joining two amazing runners, Kim from Running on the Fly and Deborah from Confessions from a Mother Runner for their link up, the “Weekly Run Down”. Hop on over to their blogs and others, and be inspired.