Race Recap

Spar Community Challenge | 10K Recap (December)

On 10 December 2022, I participated in the Spar Community Challenge, their ninth and final run of the year; and my fourth. This Challenge was a 9-part running series with monthly runs from April to December, with two distance options – 5K and 10K. My first recap is here, my second here and my third here. Throughout the series, there has been a leader board with points earned per race (with time/performance factored in). There were also spot prizes and finisher medals at each event which added to the excitement and sense of accomplishment. The challenge was in support of a disadvantaged Gamodubu community about 25km from Gaborone. I had hoped to participate in many more races in the series but with clashing races, events and travel, it wasn’t to be! However, I was determined to participate in the final run of the series.

The venue was the new Fields Mall in the CBD. We had signed the kids up too, but both were down with colds, so Ditiro and I set off on our own. This was also the tenth day of the Gaborone Striders Running Club 10×10 Challenge, so participating in this race meant we would earn another Spar medal AND one from the Challenge – two medals in one morning! Yippee!

After a short warm-up and some instructions from the course director, we set off at 06:30. The route was a double loop, all contained in the CBD with several hairpin bends. The positives of the route were that we got to see familiar faces several times which gave a sense of camaraderie, even if we were running at vastly different paces; the race was also contained within a safe space without much traffic; and the buildings within the CBD have different architectural styles which I always appreciate. The negatives were that it wasn’t a very interesting route; it felt repetitive, and the hairpin bends caused some confusion for a number of runners. Around 2/ 3km, I found myself behind many runners and walkers I had been ahead of – which either meant I had added a section to my run, or they had missed one!

I maintained a steady pace for the first 5km loop; listened carefully to my body and breathing, and managed average splits (min/km): 07:27/ 07:23/ 07:17/ 07:30/ 07:39. Towards the end of this loop, it felt like we were going slightly uphill, which you can tell from my slower splits. I had my eye on around six runners; I stuck with three until around 4km, and after that pushed ahead. The other three were still ahead when we got to the halfway mark. On the second loop, I could feel the strain of my 10km/day running streak – but I focused on my great music playlist. My average splits (min/km) were 07:31/ 07:28/ 07:28/ 07:42/ 07:36; and I eventually pushed past the three runners I’d been trailing from the start. I had an extra half a kilometre at the end, which I did at a 06:34 pace and sprinted into the finish with great excitement.

Given how tired my legs were, I’m so proud of this effort – my average time for the run was 07:27 min/km which is the bus/pace group I had signed up for in the 10×10 Challenge. For the first time in the last few races, I was also able to tap into some fire at the end so as to have a great sprint finish. Meanwhile Ditiro bagged himself two new PBs for the 5K and 10K distances.

We usually don’t stay too long after races but this being the last one, we decided to hang around for the prizes and announcements. A representative from SPAR told us more about the cause we had been running for and showed us the hampers (consisting of clothes and treats) that would be given to the children of Gamodubu as part of the Christmas celebration. It felt great to know that not only had we had tremendous fun during the series, but it was for a great cause.

Afterwards, the winners in the different categories were announced – and it was great to see that it wasn’t the fastest runners who necessarily made the podiums, but those who had most consistently participated in the nine runs during the year. It was also announced that the series will take place again in 2023, starting in February. I’m proud of the four shoes I collected this year and I’m looking forward to getting even more next year! How cute do they look?

Did you take part in the Spar Challenge Series this year? Are you motivated to participate in it next year? Have you ever bagged two race medals on one morning?

I’m joining the link-up, Runner’s Roundup with Mile By MileCoach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerRuns with Pugs, and Running on Happy! Hop on over to their blogs and others and be inspired!

6 thoughts on “Spar Community Challenge | 10K Recap (December)

  1. Well done both of you!!
    What a speedy finish, Shathi.
    Not only are you a consistent runner, but you are also good at estimating your pace. It’s hard to guess your pace for 10 runs, but you hit it spot on. Nice!
    Yep, I can see many more little shoe medals for next year.

    Liked by 1 person

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