Local runner takes on 400km Iconic Challenge

Tumo Mokhatla after completing the Icon’s Journey 400km Marathon. PHOTO: Supplied

A local runner Tumo Mokhatla took on the Icon’s Journey 400km Marathon from 23 till 30 July in the Eastern Cape.

The marathon consists of an eight-day journey to experience the former Transkei homeland of the Eastern Cape. The event takes place in the Eastern Cape in three district municipalities, namely Amathole, Chris Hani, and OR Tambo Districts. Mokhatla ran through the birthplaces of Walter Sisulu, Mama Albertina Sisulu (Ngcobo Municipality Start), Nelson Mandela (KSD Local Municipality), Thabo and Govan Mbeki (Mbashe Local Municipality Finish).

Mokhatla ran 42km every day for seven consecutive days and on the eighth day he ran 103km. According to him, the reason he took on this journey is to raise funds for children in need. “Last year, when I took part in the Two Oceans Marathon, I paid about R5 600 for accommodation, two ladies then asked me to donate funds for school shoes for children. I did not have any money as I used it for accommodation,” said Mokhatla.

He added that on his way there he realised how easy it was for him to spend money on the accommodation while there are children who will be left without shoes “and I am just going to Two Oceans for a medal”.

In preparation for the marathon, Mokhatla said if it was not for his team he ran with, the process would be extremely hard. “We had to be very cautious while we were training because you did not want to over-train. Knowing that we were going to run every day for eight days, in January we decided to start with a five-day course where we ran 5km every day just for the body to get used to it. In February we increased the mileage to 15km for five days, in March we ran 20km and by May we ran 25km. We did this to adapt to the everyday running so that the body can continue even though it is tired,” said Mokhatla.

When asked how the overall experience was he said: “It was very difficult. I think on the third day I had an issue with my ankle. I could not run, but I just told myself that this is not for me, it’s for the kids. The body takes about two weeks to recover from a 42km marathon, but at that point, it was all about exercising your mental fitness.”

Funds raised will benefit over 4 000 school children with school shoes, sanitary towels, and sports kits nationally.

Justine Fortuin