Marathon World Record Holder and Lewa Ambassador Eliud Kipchoge recently joined the Lewa community led by Sarah Watson, the Director of Programmes for Tusk Trust for a practice run in preparation for the 2021 Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon.
They were joined by Edward Ndiritu who is the Head of Anti-poaching at the Conservancy, among others. After the run, Kipchoge took time to learn more about the impact that last year’s marathon had on the communities and wildlife surrounding the conservancy.
“Over the years, the marathon has proven to be a melting pot of hundreds of sporting enthusiasts drawn from all over the world. Since its inception, the race has raised approximately Sh800M in support of livelihood and conservation programmes in Lewa and across Kenya. From this invaluable support, the neighboring communities have benefited through programmes in education, healthcare, water, micro-enterprise, youth empowerment and more,” said Kipchoge.
For the second year running, the marathon will be held virtually with organisers encouraging runners everywhere to lace up their shoes and join the challenge in support of Kenyan communities and wildlife. Runners can participate in the 5km, 10km, 21km or 42km categories. Participation is free, but all runners are encouraged to donate whatever they can.
“By coming together in partnership and as one global family, the communities that are supported by the marathon are able to derive their day-to-day livelihoods in ways that are compatible with thriving wildlife habitat,” said Watson.
Co-organised by Tusk Trust and Lewa and headline sponsored by telecommunication giants Safaricom and Huawei, the unique marathon has raised millions of shillings to fund wildlife conservation and community development in Kenya over the last 21 years.
The funds raised have been used in various initiatives and projects across Kenya; from recovering Kenya’s Black Rhino population from the brink of extinction, protecting the world’s critically endangered Grevy’s Zebra, providing healthcare, water and improved infrastructure for communities; to supporting Lewa’s education programmes.
Last month, Kipchoge urged runners from all over the world to register for this year’s Lewa Safari Marathon which will be held virtually for a second consecutive year due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Kipchoge also confirmed that he will once again join runners from all over the world in the event set for June 26, which is aimed at raising funds for conservancy and helping the local community in Lewa.
“Last year, you joined me in a global running movement to support the guardians of wildlife and our natural heritage. This year, we have another opportunity to rally around my Kenyan brothers and sisters as they continue to feel the negative effects of the pandemic,” Kipchoge said, in his rallying call to runners.
Runners can register for the marathon, supported by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and World Marathon Record Holder Eliud Kipchoge, on https://www.lewasafarimarathon.co.ke.