baton for Autism
Thousands of women turned out for the first post-Covid SPAR Women’s Challenge in Gqeberha on Saturday. Photo: Leon Hugo.

Thousands hit the ground running to make a difference and carry the community baton for Autism at this year’s SPAR Women’s Challenge in Gqeberha!


Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa (29 May, 2023)—Above and beyond different individual goals, the 30th SPAR Women’s Challenge in Gqeberha saw thousands of people share one big achievement—carrying the baton for Autism by uplifting support organisations.

This year’s SPAR Women’s Challenge in Gqeberha spotlighted  Autism Eastern Cape and the Umphanda Foundation for Autism, organisations that empower Autistic individuals in their care.

On race day, runners from all around South Africa and beyond joined forces, uniting different skill-levels over the same mindset.

Here, the road race proved to be drenched with impact for Autistic communities, sharing a portion of the funds with Autism Eastern Cape and Umphanda Foundation.

Grand Champ, Gees and a Century of Races

Ethiopian Tadu Nare burned up the course in record time—31:35 for the 10km Grand Prix Series race. Amid the gees (largely credited to  Umhlobo Wenene breakfast show presenter Mafa Bavuma and entertainer Gino Fabbri), history was made by 61-year-old Grace De Oliveira.

Grace became the second person ever to complete 100 SPAR Women’s Challenge races, following in the footsteps of Sonja Laxton who got her century races ‘badge of honour’ in 2019 during the Joburg stretch.

“It was such a special moment to achieve the 100th event in one of my favourite races. I had goose bumps at the end and it was a wonderful moment,” the 7x Comrades gold-medallist Grace shared.
“The camaraderie and traditional atmosphere were back [after Covid] and spinning around on social media, so we are thrilled with how it all turned out,” shared SPAR Eastern Cape advertising manager Roseann Shadrach of the race’s big come-back. 

SPAR Grand Prix Series Results

  1. Tadu Nare (Ethiopia) 31:35
  2. Selam Gebre (Ethiopia) 31:53,
  3. Glenrose Xaba (SA) 32:12
  4. Blandina Makatisi (Lesotho) 32:46
  5. Cian Oldknow (SA) 32:49,
  6. Kesa Molotsane (SA) 33:06
  7. Cacisile Sosibo (SA) 33:10
  8. Tayla Kavanagh (SA) 33:11
  9. Lebo Phalula (SA) 33:32
  10. Patience Murowe (Zimbabwe) 35:03.

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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