Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon powered by Huawei raises over Ksh.20M


Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon powered by Huawei raises over Ksh.20M
File image of a past Lewa Safari marathon. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Lewa Safari marathon, which was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic has raised over Ksh.20 million for wildlife conservation, community education, healthcare and tourism.

The 2020 Virtual Safari marathon had over 1000 registered participants from over 70 cities, representing 20 countries, making it a truly a global challenge.

With no stopwatch, no time sheet and no spectators, participants were invited to run or walk either 5km, 10km, 21km in their garden, street, park, beach or treadmill and join forces with others to raise awareness to the tireless work done by the frontline guardians on the ground.

Huawei Kenya, a long-term supporter of the Lewa marathon once again showed the significance of true sportsmanship by supporting one of the world’s greatest marathons – The Lewa Safari Marathon, a rebrand of the famous Safaricom Lewa Marathon.

“Since 2008, when Huawei Kenya first got involved we have been able to inject an additional Ksh. 100 million into the Ksh.800 million marathon kitty. What this has done has allowed us to invest heavily into more than 80 projects across Kenya. From building new classrooms, supporting local clinics and water projects to protecting the critically endangered black rhino, iconic elephants, the marathon continues to achieve significant impact for people and nature.

“I’d like to give a massive shout out to Safaricom and to Huawei for the extraordinary support to this event over the last 21 years and in particular to Huawei this year for their steadfast support, we are hugely grateful. I understand we’ve raised well over $20,000 from this year,” said Mike Watson, CEO of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Stanley Shenlei, Huawei Key Accounts Director described the Virtual Safari marathon as a success saying every shilling raised through the event will be used to make a difference inside and outside Lewa’s boundaries.

“This year we launched our campaign #PreparingTomorrow and I am happy to know we have achieved great success this year, over 20 million shillings raised is fantastic. Lewa’s legacy is one that we cannot afford to lose. Lewa is home to 11% of the global population of the endangered Grevy’s zebra, and currently hosts over 200 rhino across the Lewa-Borana landscape, as well as a host of other wildlife species.

“The uninterrupted and continued existence of conservancy is crucial. As the organization continues to forge tirelessly ahead with their conservation efforts despite the pandemic, so must the marathon, and we are proud to be part of this legacy,” he said.

The event, which in previous years has drawn thousands of participants from all over the world, has a reputation within the athletic community of being a sheer test of endurance and perseverance as competitors’ race across one of the toughest terrains in the world.

Held annually at the end of June each year, the 2020 Lewa Safari marathon was called off in March due to the COVID 19 pandemic that has isolated many and suspended global travel. This is the first time in the marathon’s history that the race has gone virtual or has indeed been postponed.

With global coronavirus putting a halt on international travel and the possibility of having to cancel the world-renowned Global event, Huawei Kenya has rallied behind Lewa and provided the much-needed support required to host a virtual event.

Acknowledging the unique position and importance of this year’s marathon, Kenyan artist, Nyashinski, performed his hit song Marathon Runner virtually which was the theme song for this years’ event.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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