It almost sounds like a dream – running in the wild, crossing paths with giraffes, buffalos and maybe lions. We are truly blessed as a country to have an opportunity to experience such surreal moments. For some, running the Lewa Marathon has been on their bucket list. For others, this is a chance to contribute to wildlife conservancy.
The world has been reeling over the significant loss of wildlife over the last few decades. Wildlife extinction is a serious issue as it takes with it more than just the beauty of the world. Apart from poaching, one of the biggest threats against wild animals is habitat loss. As humans encroach on their habitats, wildlife numbers decline. The Lewa Marathon hopes to tackle this problem by providing animal sanctuaries and educating communities about co-existing with wild animals.
Earlier this week, Safaricom in partnership with Tusk Trunk and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy launched this year’s Lewa Marathon. The event slated for 29th June 2019 also marks the marathon’s 20th anniversary. This time around, they aim to raise Ksh 100 million. For those who don’t know what the fuss is all about, here’s a brief history of the marathon.
The Lewa Marathon started in 2000 as a creative concept to raise awareness on wildlife conservation and create a positive impact among the communities living around the Mt. Kenya region. It comprises of a 42 km full marathon, a 21 km half marathon and a 5 km fun run for the kids. Some of the participants over the years include dignitaries, elite runners such as Eliud Kipchoge and three-time winner Frida Lodepa as well as ordinary mwananchi who share a common goal and interest. The oldest participant of the marathon is John Mweru at 87 years old.
The initiative has received immense support, raising over Ksh 750 million since its inception. These funds all go to wildlife conservation, building health facilities, sponsoring children’s education and equipping schools with the necessary facilities.
Safaricom’s Head of The Consumer Business Unit, Charles Wanjohi remarked, “Over the last 19 editions, we have seen Safaricom Marathon in Lewa transform the lives of the communities it serves.”
Additionally, Tusk CEO, Charlie Mayhew said, “Thanks to their (Safaricom) invaluable support, Tusk has made a real difference to the lives of the many thousands of Kenyans living alongside their wildlife.”
The Lewa Marathon not only raises awareness and improves lives but it also created a community of runners. It has become one of the country’s major sporting event where amateur and professional runners mingle for a cause. Additionally, many people have this marathon on their bucket list. if so, this is the year to do it.
Though ticket prices increased from Ksh 15,000 to Ksh 20,000 this year, you can’t really put a price on such an experience. Registration is now open and you can do so through their website.