The popular East London Spar Daily Dispatch Summer Fun Run was held on Sunday, November 24, with more than double the participants of 2017. Around 2 500 enthusiasts entered the event from the Orient Pools on the city’s Esplanade, with the majority taking part in the four-kilometre distance.
Suren Packery, advertising manager of Daily Dispatch, says the emphasis on family and supporting people with physical disabilities was clear.
“We have seen an exponential increase in our participants with disabilities and families participating together. For instance, we had entrants with month-old babies in prams to an 82-year-old doing the race. About 300 people did the eight-kilometre, who were the more serious runners and walkers, while more than 2 000 people did the four-kilometre,” he notes.
Packery adds 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 sponsored 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,” he explains.
There were also numerous other activities on offer, including jumping castles, beach volleyball, beach tennis and Frisbee games. According to Jennilee Peremore, the marketing manager at Daily Dispatch, the event plays a big role in their annual programme.
“We’re proud that the event has more than doubled in entries from last year. 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,” she says.
Spar Eastern Cape for the first time was co-sponsor of the event, which has been running for 40 years. Alan Stapleton, Spar Eastern Cape sponsor and events manager, says: “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.
“With its focus on wheelchair participants, the run links to the Spar Wheelchair Wednesday initiatives, which draws attention to the difficulties experienced by people with disabilities,” he concludes.