The First African Female to run 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days
Nontuthuko Mgabhi just made history! She is the first African woman to run one of the most challenging marathons in the world: 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days.
From Cape Town in Africa to Novo Base in Antarctica, Perth in Australia, Dubai in Asia, following by Madrid in Europe, Fortaleza, Brazil in South America and finishing in Miami, USA in North America, Nontu ran the standard 42.2km marathon in all 7 continents in 7 consecutive days.
In these 168 hours, not only that Nontu ran almost 300 km, but she also flew to all these places all over the world, starting over a new challenge every day.
She had to quickly adapt to the cold of Antarctica and then to the heat of Dubai, hours later. Running in demanding conditions, overcoming jet lag, Nontu was not even able to take a proper shower, as the entire team had to keep on moving to the next marathon.
The most challenging part of any journey or adventure is to Believe you can Do It. It’s a Mental Game…Nontu Mgabhi
Nontu loves challenges and it is not the first time to take on adventures. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, ran several marathons like the Comrades Marathons and 300-milers, but she never worked with a coach. Nontu knew that this challenge is greater than all the other ones that she had done in the past, so she trained with Prodigal Khumalo, the South African running legend.
But there is much more to Nontu’s story! Her journey was a catalyst for more than 600 children in a rural village in South Africa, where a primary school will be improved, enlarged and turned into a better educational environment.
I am a girl from a rural village. When I was young, I always believed I will rise against all odds and I will not let my background limit me. Yes, it may mean I have to fight harder – but I am prepared to put in the fight.Nontu Mgabhi
Nontu’s work and efforts are always focused on good causes and her big heart and inspirational way of living are already impacting many communities in Africa.
I am beyond happy and grateful to have connected with Nontu. Her kindness, beauty, strength and passion for life and for achieving greatness are so inspirational! She is a force of nature and an embodiment of passion, perseverance and light! Nontu is a ray of light and she has the power to enlighten and the courage to empower!
Beauty is being your authentic empowered self. Beauty is the light that shines from within. You can’t buy beauty – you align with beauty by aligning with your soul.Nontu Mgabhi
You made history by becoming the first African female to run 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days. What was the most challenging part of this journey?
Nontu: First I would like to start with gratitude. I am grateful I got position 4 and I survived 7 days of running 7 marathons in 7 continents. During the 7 days we only had shower 3 times. We spent almost 80 hours flying during the 7 days. So many things were challenging.
The most challenging part of any journey or adventure is to *Believe you can Do It.* It’s a Mental Game – you have to try to condition your mind to think Positive and Believe – yes, sometimes you will get it right, sometimes you will fall short again and again, but keep trying to master your own mind.
Physically, without a doubt Antarctica 🇦🇶 was the most difficult marathon of the 7 marathons, followed by Fortaleza in Brazil. We experienced -25c, strong gale wind, we were almost freezing in Antarctica. The weather conditions were rough even by Antarctica standards. The water that we had prepared to drink was turning into ice, hands and feet almost freezing…
The second toughest marathon was Brazil 🇧🇷 (in Fortaleza city) – it was boiling hot, 36 degrees and the marathon started midday when the heat was at its peak.
We all need an Equal Society because we are indeed Equal. We may be Different but we are Equal.Nontu Mgabhi
How did you decide to embark on such an adventure?
Nontu: I embarked on this journey to raise funds for a needy primary school in a deep rural village in South Africa. I am still raising funds as I have not reached my target. Money raised will be used to restore the current dilapidated school infrastructure and build 5 classrooms and 2 administration offices. The current conditions of the school are not conducive for the health and the learning and development of children (age 5 – 15 years).
This is a primary school (Khiphinkunzi Primary School) where a child’s development should take place. The school has an enrollment of 657 learners. Some of the classrooms have over 100 learners. New classrooms will ensure that a good ratio (teacher:learner) is maintained for effective learning. I invite you all to please donate to this cause. The link to donation is: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/khiphinkunzi-primary
It’s important to know You Are Enough – you are not above nor beneath, you are Enough.Nontu Mgabhi
How long did you prepare for the marathon?
Nontu: Almost a year, but in the last 4 months I employed the services of a well experienced coach by the name of Prodigal Khumalo. I have to say: without his wisdom and guidance I can’t imagine how I could have survived the 7 marathons. He is the best in getting the best out of people.
What inspires you to pursue your dreams and take new, unexplored paths?
Nontu: I am a girl from a rural village. When I was young, I always believed I will rise against all odds and I will not let my background limit me. Yes, it may mean I have to fight harder – but I am prepared to put in the fight. Take the hits and get back in the ring.
I hope that my life inspires all, especially those who face many socioeconomic challenges and those who may be lacking in hope and faith. It’s amazing that when you are in action – many people come your way to help you, in fact the entire universe makes a way for you. The goddess of good luck favored a man of action.
How do you find your power and inner strength on days that are more difficult?
Nontu: It’s more about Discipline. Many things that I do, I don’t necessarily do them because I am more motivated than others – but more because I am Committed to the Goals that I set for myself.
Commitment – is to do what you said you will do long after the mood in which you said it has left you. For every week I have a clear “map”/schedule of what I must run everyday and what type of a run I must do – so it’s not negotiable – I have to get up and do it, whether I am excited on that day or not.
I also believe that I am the light that others need – therefore I must shine brighter so that others may also find their path. I also found my path because of the people who shined their light bright enough so that I could find my path too.
How do you feel about empowerment and women’s role today?
Nontu: I believe women should be Who and What they want to be. Almost all cultures and continents look down upon women (consciously and/or unconsciously). I believe that women must take their power back – no one will give it to us! We have to grab it because it was not supposed to leave us from the first place, but the system that was well engineered did this and because it benefited some (mostly men), no one ever challenged this system because people in power (mostly men) were benefitting (and still do) from this system. We all need an Equal Society because we are indeed Equal. We may be Different but we are Equal.
What is beautiful for you and how would you define “beauty”?
Nontu: Beauty is being your authentic empowered self. Beauty is the light that shines from within. You can’t buy beauty – you align with beauty by aligning with your soul.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world – dead or alive, famous or not – who would you choose and why?
Nontu: I fantasize a lot about meeting Oprah Winfrey, and for some reason, my innermost being believes I will meet her – I don’t have to know how. The universe will make it happen when the time is right.
Many things that I do, I don’t necessarily do them because I am more motivated than others – but more because I am Committed to the Goals that I set for myself.Nontu Mgabhi
If you could have a superpower, what would that be?
Nontu: I would get every woman to believe that ”I Am Enough”. It’s important to know You Are Enough – you are not above nor beneath, you are Enough. Also I would use my superpowers to get every woman who is in an abusive relationship to leave that relationship.
What keeps Nontu busy when she is not running for a good cause?
Nontu: I am a Psychologist by profession, I work as the General Manager of Human Resources at Richards Bay Coal Terminal. This is a role I assumed in September 2017 at the age of 30, making me the youngest ever appointed Executive member at the Terminal. I also enjoy reading – I love self help books. Traveling is also my passion and hiking.
What are you reading now and what book(s) do you recommend?
Nontu: My current read is a book by Gary Zukav, titled: The Seat of The Soul.
My favorite book that I have read is by Eckhart Tolle, tittle: A New Earth… as well as his book titled; The Power of Now.
What are your future goals?
Nontu: To Open a Go Beyond for a Girl Child Academy. This academy would run in the evening, on weekends and during school holidays. The academy will focus on enabling a Girl Children to Dream Big, To Explore, Discover and Live Their Best Lives.