On the 18th June 2022, I participated in the Spar Community Challenge’s third race. This Challenge is a 9-part running series with monthly runs from April until December, with two distances to choose from – 5K and 10K. You’ll find my first recap here, and my second here. 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 a disadvantaged Gamodubu community about 25km from Gaborone. On a personal note, I’ve been using this series to keep me focused and motivated especially in the cooler winter months.
I was relieved to see the starting time for this race had been pushed to 07:00 (instead of 06:15). The venue was at the Central Business District (CBD) which is fairly close to our house so we left at 06:45 (yes, we tend to cut it quite close!). When we drove up, I was excited to see the actual start would be inside The Three Dikgosi Monument which is the biggest monument in Gaborone. As we approached the gantry, we spotted Elisa, Sonja and Malaney waving at us. I was so excited I gave big hugs to all, even though I usually elbow-greet! It was quite chilly (around 5/6˚C) so I was grateful for the warm up session organised by Penalty Box Fit. Once we were done, we lined up at the gantry and at 07:10 we set off. Having collected green and purple medals from previous races, this time we were chasing this blue one!
I had an Easy 9km Run on the schedule today so my strategy was to keep things conversational and was happy that both Elisa and Mal were keen to do the same. The whole race was set within the CBD which houses several Government Ministries that have outgrown the official Government Enclave on the other side of the road. There are also a number of parastatals, commercial banks and private companies as well as high-end hotels such as the Hilton and various popular restaurants. The CBD is also home to the tallest building in Gaborone – iTowers. We ran the length of the CBD, up and down some of the streets and back to where we started, and then repeated the loop to make the distance. We had an awesome time chatting and this photo captured by Imaan from Penalty Box Fit shows just how happy we were!
We came through the finish line together with an overall pace of 07:15min/km which was faster than my pace for the last Spar run I did. After the race, we had fun taking photos in front of the distinguished Three Chiefs.
There was also a mobile coffee shop, Cups and Pups, and Ditiro treated us all to some cappuccinos which is always welcome after a run but particularly so in winter!
All of us expressed how happy we felt – quite simply put, it was the “perfect morning”. Perhaps it was the conversation, the run, the route, or a combination of all three. But even with news that there is a fifth Covid-19 wave, in many ways, things just felt normal again.
Not wanting the morning to end, Ditiro and I headed to The Daily Grind for breakfast and yet another cappuccino. I enjoyed their Norwegian salmon and poached egg on perfectly baked gluten free bread.
There are still six (6) runs to go in the series! 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. Here is the schedule for the remaining races.
Are you taking part in the Spar Challenge Series? What goals are you working on?
I’m joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner and Runs with Pugs! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.