Distance junkies line up to enter 400km Icon's Journey Marathon to raise funds for school kids
After raising hundreds of thousands of Rands to support over 2000 rural and township school pupils across the country with school shoes, uniforms, and sanitary pads last year, organisers of the Icon's Journey Marathon are at it again. Since 2018, the annual 8-day run and ride has been taking place in the Eastern Cape to celebrate the towns and hamlets that produced the national and international struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Thabo Mbeki. In 2021 the gruelling 400km journey produced over R200 000 in charitable contributions through its virtual run. But with an actual race coming up this year, they are hoping to do even better.
"Preparations are going well so far and are on track to host an event to remember in 2022," said Vulithuba Sangoni who is the founder of the Icon's Journey Marathon. "Since hosting the successful virtual races in 2020 and 2021 all eyes are on us to back that up with a very good physical event." In preparation for that physical event which is set to take place on 10 July, Sangoni and his team invited some enthusiastic runners to try out the route that will be officially unveiled on race day.
"We hosted a successful 35km route test working with Nelson Mandela Museum, King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality and our local and provincial traffic departments. We had 50 runners representing different clubs from across the Eastern Cape," he told #TheTopRunner.
And it looks as though the scores of runners who attended last week's dry run have given the 35km run the thumbs up. Where 33km of the old route was run on gravel roads, the new one has just less than 10km of gravel which should make for faster running in both the 35km and the 103km ultra marathon - for which a R50 000 prize purse is up for grabs, with R5 000 on offer for the winner of the 35km. Sangoni is confident of attracting a large field for both the 8-day 400km odyssey (3-10 July) and race day, which coincides with the final day of Icon's Journey.
"We expect some international participants because in our first event in 2019 we had a bus full of runners from Swaziland. This year we except all our neighbouring countries to be part of this global event in the making. There is also interest in the United Kingdom where our virtual event was well attended in 2020 and 2021. We have 20 new runners (for the 400km) who will take part representing seven different provinces and we are targeting R200 000 yet again," he concluded.
Entries for the event open today (31 March) and have been capped at 5000. Visit www.theiconsjourneymarathon.com for more information.