Kenyan marathon world beaters Catherine Ndereba, Henry Wanyoike as well as representatives from Kenya’s corporates have come together in a fun run to promote the upcoming virtual Lewa Safari Marathon.
Owing to the stringent Covid-19 curbs in place across Kenya, Lewa Safari Marathon will be going virtual on June 26 for the second consecutive year.
During the fun run held on Friday, June 18, the participants ran the 5km, 10km or 21km race in Karura forest.
The exercise marked the first time that the organisers of the Lewa Safari Marathon have held a promotional event in Nairobi to woo athletes, families, and corporates to the annual sporting event in the wild.
Lewa Safari Marathon impacts thousands of lives across Kenya and raises money for wildlife protection programmes.
Hosted by Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon, headline sponsors, Safaricom and Huawei – the mini-run was an opportunity to highlight the success and impact that the marathon has achieved since the first race in 2000.
“It is a great honour to be part of the Lewa Safari marathon which has raised over Kes 850 million to fund wildlife conservation and community development in Kenya over the last 21 years.
“Safaricom’s purpose has always been to transform lives and there is no better way to do it than to protect the environment in which we live and conduct business in and supporting the communities we serve,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
The annual marathon is organized by Tusk Trust in partnership with Lewa.
With just over a week to go, the marathon which has been ranked one of the top ten marathons in the world by Runner’s World, is one of few known races where participants get to share the trails with some of Kenya’s most iconic and critically endangered wildlife – Grevy’s zebra, rhino and elephants.
“It is vital that those of us in the conservation community, together with corporates and key stakeholders, come together and work to ensure that families and communities are economically empowered in a manner that places Kenya’s rich bio-diversity at its core.
“Over the last 20 years plus, through the proceeds from the marathon, it is clear that we are reaching some incredible milestones and achieving sustainable impact,” said Sarah Watson, Tusk’s Director Programmes for Africa,
The marathon, which draws over 1400 participants annually, broke that record last year when it went virtual for the first time in its 21-year history with 20 countries, 70 cities and over 2000 participants taking part in the event.
“It is quite remarkable the extent at which Lewa Conservancy has gone to preserve Kenya’s natural heritage and the future of its lands, culture and people. We commend you for going beyond Lewa itself to helping so many other natural areas across the country. Environmental sustainability is a key pillar in Huawei’s CSR and that is why this marathon is and continues to be of key interest to Huawei,” said Will Meng, CEO Huawei Kenya.
To date, over 600 participants have registered with event organisers hoping to meet the target of at least 1000 entries.
Like the FunRun, the marathon has no time limit, participants are welcome to complete their distance any time throughout June, over days or weeks.
“The mini-run was very important to us as not only does it bring Lewa to Nairobi, we had seven of our rangers participating – it also shows the level of unwavering commitment from our co-sponsors, followers, participants who have been with us since the start, said Edward Ndiritu, Head of Anti-Poaching at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.