Lewa Marathon leaving positive mark – organisers


Philemon Baaru after crossing the finish line to clinch his fifth Safaricom Lewa Marathon title. (...
Philemon Baaru after crossing the finish line to clinch his fifth Safaricom Lewa Marathon title. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • Safaricom reported all signs indicate that the Lewa Marathon is impacting positively on wildlife conservation and the surrounding community as the telecommunications giants launched the annual competition on Wednesday
  • Safaricom, Tusk Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy reiterated their commitment to 'supporting this cause' ahead of what will mark the 19th edition of the event in June 30

Safaricom reported all signs indicate that the Lewa Marathon is impacting positively on wildlife conservation and the surrounding community as the telecommunications giants launched the annual competition on Wednesday.

Safaricom, Tusk Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy reiterated their commitment to ‘supporting this cause’ ahead of what will mark the 19th edition of the event in June 30.

This year, the marathon seeks to raise awareness about the projects and communities that have benefited from funds raised.

The annual event is held to raise funds for wildlife conservation and community development, with up to 13,000 runners from all over the world having taken part in the race since inception.

Over KSh40 million was raised in 2017 bringing the total amount raised over the 19 years to over KSh675 million.

“For the last 19 years, the Safaricom marathon has had a huge impact on the lives of communities in Lewa and the protection of the endangered species in the conservancy and across the country,” said Safaricom Strategy Director Joseph Ogutu.

Among the projects include: Lewa Conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust, Mt. Kenya Trust, Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, Space for Giants, Koiyaki Guide School, Olare Orok Conservation Trust, Lamu Marine Conservation Trust, Watamu Turtle Watch, Bongo Surveillance Project, Kibodo Trust, Tsavo Trust, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Big Life Foundation and Borana Conservancy.

The marathon has supported the conservation of some of Kenya’s highly endangered species, notably the Black Rhino, the Leather-back Turtle, Grevy’s Zebra and Mountain Bongo.

In addition, the funds support community initiatives around education, healthcare, employment and economic empowerment in different geographies, with beneficiaries spanning Central, Northern, Western, Rift and Coastal regions.

“The marathon’s phenomenal impact is far reaching across Kenya and the awareness it raises for our benefices’ projects spans across the globe, an achievement that everyone at Safaricom, Lewa and Tusk Trust is tremendously proud of. We have proven that when we run together we can protect our future,” said CEO – Lewa Conservancy, Mike Watson.

Keeping to the tradition of the title sponsor, Safaricom will donate KES 14.8 million.

As has been the case, the Safaricom Marathon will have three race categories: the 5KM Children’s Fun Run for 10 to 14 year olds and 15-17 year olds, the Half Marathon (21KM) for individuals, teams and corporates, and the Full Marathon (42KM), which is open to individual runners.

Last year, Philemon Baaru successfully defended his title in the full marathon while Margaret Lepakana won the women’s title. Philemon Kiprono dominated the men’s Half Marathon while the women’s 21km race went to Betty Karambu.

The event will be held on Saturday, June 30.

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