Mgabhi’s Ultra-Asia exploits to foot the bill for much-needed school shoes

She’s run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents and now Nontuthuko Mgabhi has set herself a new challenge: the 160km Ultra-Asia race from 6-9 March.

For Nontuthuko, it’s not about personal achievement or conquering the ultra-running world but rather a mission much closer to home – rural schoolchildren. So far, the Richards Bay runner has raised over R3 million through her various athletic adventures to better the lives of kids living in poverty.

There were five new classrooms, an admin block and new toilets for Khiphinkunzi Primary School in Mtubatuba, food packages, face masks during the Covid pandemic, and now – school shoes.

“Kids from rural villages have to walk far to get to school because there aren’t many schools,” explained Nontuthuko, who apart from training every day also works as General Manager of Human Resources at Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

She adds, “A school shoe, therefore, becomes a mode of transport, yet some families can’t afford them due to socio-economic factors. A school shoe competes with bread and butter…. These children come from communities and schools that are underserved. A school shoe should not stand in their way. Every child should have a fair chance at success. So this is about reducing or removing barriers to finishing school.”

Nontuthuko’s mission is to raise another R140,000 to provide 500 new pairs of school shoes to learners at five different schools in Mseleni on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast. That’s why she’s been running 130-1340km per week in preparation and will board a plane to Vietnam on Saturday to take on the gruelling Ultra-Asia race.

The four-stage event includes a brutal 6000 meters of positive elevation and 7000 meters of negative elevation and requires runners to carry their own supplies. Each night they sleep over in local villagers’ houses.

“I do not run for the podium, I run for the joy of it and for social impact – to make a small impact,” explained Nontuthuko, adding “This race is particularly special because during the event, we will spend the nights in traditional houses on stilts. This kind of experience keeps me grounded and aligns well with the causes I run for. I run for children from the deep rural villages, with special focus on the North Coast. Running a race where I will immerse myself in the villages is spiritually awakening. I love that!”

Asked whether she is daunted by the task ahead, Nontuthuko reckoned: “You need a strong mind, legs, and back. I am also in the right mood and mental state for it. I feel calm. Running for a cause has helped me to enjoy the process more, knowing I am running for something. This is how my initiative called: ‘Go Beyond for a Child’ was born. I run long and far for a child in need.

“Running for a cause has ignited me. I have always loved adventure and have taken on daring challenges before, but since 2019, my love for adventure has grown immensely as I get to achieve a lot through my passion for running. I get the opportunity to give back and change lives, thanks to generous sponsors. They make it happen, they believe in me and the causes I run for,” added Nontuthuko, making special mention of kit sponsor Salomon, MANI Industries, Hollywood Foundation and Bidvest Tank Terminals for their support of her previous challenge.

Those wanting to donate to the cause can do so online at: or for more information email:

Breaking News: Two Oceans Marathon Entries Opening!

The Two Oceans Marathon (TOM) is pleased to announce that entries for the 51st edition of the iconic Cape ultra and its accompanying half marathon will open on 11 February 2022 at 12pm (midday). The event will take place on Easter Weekend, with the Half Marathon taking place on Saturday 16 April, and the Ultra being run on Sunday 17 April.

This long-awaited announcement about entries will be welcome news to all the thousands of runners hoping to once again run the World ‘s Most Beautiful Marathon, after the race had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions in South Africa. However, runners need to act fast, as entries will close again at 5pm on 20 February, and then all entries will go into the Ballot System, with successful entries to be drawn on 21 February.

Due to the expected demand, the Ballot System will be used for both the Ultra and Half Marathon, in line with international best practice. At different stages of the balloting process, the draw for successful entries will be weighted in favour of various categories of runners, including Blue Number Club members, Yellow Numbers (those doing their 10th, 20th, etc) and club runners (versus non-licenced runners). Runners entering via the ballot only pay once their name has been successfully drawn in the ballot, and please note that runners may only enter one event, either the Ultra or the Half Marathon.

Ballot Draw Dates

All draws take place 21 February 2022, at the following times:

  • Ultra Marathon Draw 1: 10am
  • Ultra Marathon Draw 2: 2pm
  • Half Marathon Draw 1: 10am
  • Half Marathon Draw 2: 2pm

International and African runners do not enter via the ballot system, and can pay for and secure their entries straight away once entries open on 11 February. These entries will close when capacity is reached.

After general entries close on 20 February, the only way to get into the 2022 Two Oceans Marathon or Half Marathon will be via a Charity Entry, procured through one of the official charity organisations affiliated to the event, and these entries will open on 22 February at 10am. (Entry fees for Charity Entries will be uploaded once final charity partners have been confirmed.)

How To Enter

Go to the race’s homepage at when entries open and click ‘Enter Here.’ Create a profile if you do not yet have one on the system and then follow the prompts. If you already have a profile, log in and do the entry process.

Entry Fees

The 2022 entry fees have been ratified by the TOM Board and approved by Western Province Athletics. Take note that all South African runners for the Ultra need to be licensed and belong to a running club.

Entry Type


Ultra T-Shirt included

Half Marathon

Half T-shirt is R195

Licensed SA Runners



Unlicensed SA Runners   



R435 (R375 + R60 for temp licence)

Africa Runners



International Athletes



Ultra Marathon Qualifiers

For health reasons, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, qualifying for the TOM Ultra is mandatory, and TOM strongly encourages runners to complete a physical road race as their qualifier. However, any officially timed and measured marathon or longer distance, whether in the form of an officially organised physical or virtual race, run after 1 July 2021, can be used as your qualifier. In the case of a virtual marathon, an official time would be as generated by a smartwatch, a timing app on a smartphone, or a timing platform. Unfortunately, you cannot simply run on your own and time yourself, your qualifying time must have been generated during a virtual event, and the Race Office will be conducting spot checks to verify qualifier information submitted.

For the Ultra Marathon, the qualifying time for a standard marathon distance (42.2km) is 5 hours. For qualifying times run on distances greater than a standard marathon, please go to

Half Marathon Seeding

In the Half Marathon, qualifying times are used to seed you so that faster runners line up at the front, with slower runners further back. We strongly advise that you to provide a seeding time, otherwise you will unfortunately start towards the back. Seeding is based on a previous 10km, 15km or 21.1km run after 𝟏 𝐉𝐔𝐋𝐘 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏:

Startline Seeding

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the race will likely to be using multiple batches of 500 runners, starting two minutes apart, and runners will be seeded accordingly. It is not possible to give exact seeding tables as yet, but your seeding time will be used to place you in a batch appropriate to your running speed, and you will be advised of your batch closer to race day.

COVID-19 Protocols Relevant to Entering

On the advice of the TOM medical team, the below COVID-19 protocols will be observed. Kindly note that these may change with new development in the COVID-19 pandemic and the medical science related to it, as well as Disaster Management Act regulations:

  • You will have to upload proof of vaccination. If you are not vaccinated, you must present proof of a negative PCR/antigen test within 48 hours prior to attending any physical event, including Expo and your actual Race, at your own cost.
  • Please log in to your profile not more than 48 hours prior to any physical TOM event, including Expo/Race Pack Collection, to complete your COVID-19 pre-screening online. (We will send you reminders.)

Should you answer ‘yes’ to any COVID-19 risk factor during pre-screening, or fail the temperature check at Expo and Race Pack Collection, you will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test, at your own cost, taken not more than 48 hours prior to the physical event in question. Failure to do so will, unfortunately, result in you forfeiting your entry. Therefore, please remember to keep updating your profile and contact information.

In the Event of Race Cancellation…

In the event of the TOM 2022 being cancelled due to COVID-19, all runners who have paid will have their entries deferred to the next running of the Two Oceans Marathon.

For more information on entries or other race information, please read our FAQs at or contact us at 021 2000 459 (general queries) or 087 133 2285 (race-related queries), or email