Chief Vulithuba Sangoni, the founder of The Icon’s Journey Marathon Challenge, has confirmed a new partnership with various stakeholders in preparation for the fourth edition of the Icon’s Journey Marathon, scheduled from July 14 to 21. This year’s marathon promises to be an extraordinary event with several exciting components aimed at promoting social change and community involvement.


The 400 km Iconic Challenge

One of the standout events of this year’s marathon is the 400 km Iconic Challenge, which will take place along the World’s Longest Liberation Route. This gruelling challenge will feature 12 social runners, known as “Icons 4 Change,” representing eight provinces. These dedicated runners will cover a demanding distance of 400 km over eight days. The journey is divided into seven consecutive 42.2km marathons, culminating in a 103 km run on the eighth day. This route has been declared by the National Heritage Council as the Eastern Cape Resistance & Liberation Heritage Route.

“Starting will be at Fort Hare University in Alice, touching Fort Beaufort, Whittlesea, Komani, Cofimvaba, Ngcobo, Clarkebury, Baziya, Mqhekezweni, Qunu and Qokolweni, and finishing at Nelson Mandela Museum, Bhunga Building in Mthatha,” Sangoni told the Mthatha Express (NEWS24). For the first time since launching the initiative in 2021, they will have a representative from eight of the nine provinces, including Lukhanyo Ziphethe from the Northern Cape, Reggie Gebuza from the Eastern Cape, Masamuel Mayana from the Free State, Themba Mkhangeli from the Western Cape, Nkosi Vulithuba Sangoni from the Eastern Cape, Abigail Lombo from KwaZulu-Natal, Mongezi Plank from the Eastern Cape, Miyelani Magaza from Mpumalanga, Sithembiso Soyaya from the Eastern Cape, Nic Shelver from Gauteng, Enock Kgoete from Limpopo, and Tebogo Malebatsi from Gauteng.


Fundraising for a Cause

This year, the runners are challenging 4,000 South Africans to pledge R100 each on their crowdfunding campaign on the BackaBuddy platform. Their goal is to raise R400,000, which will benefit over 30,000 school children nationwide.


Gala Dinner Fundraiser

On July 12, the Nelson Mandela Museum and Absa will host a fundraising gala dinner at the Bhunga Building. This event aims to support the 400 km Iconic Challengers in reaching and exceeding their fundraising target. Chief Sangoni noted, “On July 12, Nelson Mandela Museum and Absa will host a fundraising gala dinner at Bhunga Building, in an effort to assist the 400 km Iconic Challengers to reach and exceed their target, a unique event in its own right that sees traditional leaders, political and private sector leaders, schools, and members of the media under one roof to welcome the 400 km participants.” Ten-seater tables will be sold for R5,000, with the proceeds going towards the 400 km iconic challenge bag.


Hiking Event

Returning for the fourth time is the popular hiking event, scheduled from July 19 to 21. This 35 km hike over two days will take participants from Hluleka Nature Reserve to Hole in the Wall in Coffee Bay.


Cycling Route Challenge

On July 20, participants will experience a reverse cycling route, taking daring cyclists on a journey across two Kingdoms, from Mpondoland to Thembuland. This 61 km road bike event will start at 07:00 from Ntlaza Caltex Garage, travel via R61, and finish at Port St. Johns Stadium.


Running Event

The running event will take place on July 21, rounding off the series of athletic challenges.


Entry Information

Entries for the marathon are still open online until midnight on Sunday, June 30. This date also marks the closing for those wishing to receive one of the 500 free Iconic t-shirts. After June 30, physical entries can be obtained from the Nelson Mandela Museum, Absa branches in Mthatha, King Sabatha Dalindyebo Local Municipality (KSD), and Port St. Johns (PSJ) Municipality, the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC), Savoy Hotel, and Buffalo Toyota.


For more information on entry and pricing, visit 


Support the campaign here: