The SPAR Daily Dispatch Summer Fun Run on Sunday confirmed its immense popularity with the East London community when the number of participants more than doubled from 2017.
Around 2 500 enthusiasts entered the event from the Orient Pools on the city’s Esplanade, with the majority taking part in the 4km distance.
Daily Dispatch advertising manager Suren Packery said the family emphasis of the event was clearly demonstrated, as was the focus on supporting those with physical disabilities.
“We have seen exponential growth in our disabled participants and growth in families doing it together,” he said. “For instance, we had entrants from month-old babies in prams to an 82-year-old doing the race.
“About 300 people did the 8km, who were the more serious runners and walkers, while over 2 000 people did the 4km.”
Packery added that the wheelchair-friendly nature of the course was a key factor and a big incentive for those with disabilities to take part.
“We had group entries from Life Healthcare Rehabilitation Unit and We Can Run, who focus on children with disabilities.
“PNA East London [a stationery store] sponsors wheelchairs to be given out in East London and they brought their team to the event, while this year’s beneficiary was the Sweethearts Foundation [who raise funds to buy wheelchairs for those in need].”
The day, he said, had expanded to offer a range of activities, including a jumping castle, beach volleyball, beach tennis and Frisbee games.
In addition, Packery said the association with SPAR Eastern Cape was proving a success.
“The union is harmonious and we communicate to the same markets.
“The race is family-driven and encourages all ages, while the synergy with our event being the only wheelchair event in East London and SPAR’s Wheelchair Wednesday campaign is perfect.”
Daily Dispatch marketing manager Jennilee Peremore said the event played a big role in their annual programme.
“We’re proud that the event has more than doubled in entries from last year,” she said.
“In addition, we are delighted to present an event that is clearly very important to the East London community, especially the disabled participants.
“We look forward to 2019 and have already started planning for next year.”
SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said it was wonderful to link up with the Daily Dispatch in an event which had been running for 40 years.
“True to the family and healthy living values that we stand by, the SPAR Daily Dispatch Summer Fun Run allows us to give back to the East London community, which has been so instrumental in the company’s success in this region,” he said.
“The race also helps us to re-emphasize our commitment to raising awareness and changing mindsets towards the use of plastic.
“Furthermore, with its focus on wheelchair participants, it links to the SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday initiatives, which draw attention to the difficulties experienced by our disabled friends.”