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The Icon’s Journey Marathon Story

The Icon’s Journey Marathon vision was inspired by President Nelson Mandela’s journey of growing up in the rural villages of the former Transkei homeland to becoming a Global Icon.

In the physical event participants in South Africa’s longest 1 day running event have a unique opportunity to trace the Icon’s footprints from where he  was born, grew up, went to school and is laid to rest.

A unique heritage, tourism and adventure route where participants have an opportunity to also touch the birth places of some of South Africa’s Iconic freedom fighters namely Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Mama Albertina Sisulu, King Sabata Dalindyebo, Govan Mbeki and President Thabo Mbeki.

The Heritage Route Distances

103km Clarkebury Institution start.
35km Nelson Mandela’s Qunu home start.
13km Xolilizwe Sangoni Technical High School, Qokolweni start.
7km Tyumbu bridge, Zimbane start.
All distances finish at Nelson Mandela Museum, Bhunga building Mthatha.



The most gruelling and mind testing gravel route is designed in such a way that no matter where you start, 103km or  the 7km, cycling or running, you have to tap into your inner Icon in order to finish the challenge.

100km Icons Merchandise (Pty) Ltd is a proud member of Proudly South African, buy local.

In the footsteps of the Icon

Following the passing of his father (Chief Mphakanyiswa Mandela), the Icon was 12 years old when his mother Nosekeni took him to Mqhekezweni Great Place (a landmark that lies at 50km mark of the 103km route).  This is where he says having the opportunity to see regent King Jongintaba Dalindyebo (who was his guardian) in action in the tribal courts of the great place taught him valuable lessons on justice and fairness, attributes he were to use in his fight for inequality.

The home of Mqhekezweni Great Place is now a National Heritage Site because this is where King Sabata Dalindyebo was born, a home where Nelson Mandela was brought up, the room where King Sabata Dalindyebo was born, and the rondavel where Nelson Mandela lived for 11 years are still preserved in their original state.

His love for his rural people of Qunu, a village where he first lived with his mother Nosekeni at the age of 2 years was evident because this is the same village he chose to be laid to rest next to his parents, some of his children and his own people.


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