NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1- The 2017 edition of the Safaricom Lewa Marathon will target to raise Sh102mn, an increase of Sh38mn from the amount raised last year as it celebrates its 18th anniversary when the race will be held June 24.
According to title sponsor Safaricom, most of the amount goes into the conservation of the Lewa Conservancy while another sum goes towards education, healthcare and development projects for the communities around the wildlife conservancy.
“We have been able to raise Sh420mn in 17 years. Last year we raised Sh64mn this year we hope if we can raise 1mn dollars (Sh102mn) it will be a success. This money is put into good use. It is about supporting the communities in their various development projects to conserve the environment, economic empowerment, education and health,” Safaricom Director for strategy and innovation Joseph Ogutu said.
As the norm the event targets only 1,400 athletes with the registration set to open on March 2.
Ogutu has also affirmed that the race will have several elite athletes, though he could not disclose the names. Last year, Eliud Kipchoge graced the race as he prepared for the Rio Olympics, where he ended up winning gold in Brazil just less than a month later.
“I am very certain we will have various elite athletes coming in whether local or international. We will only allow 1,400 athletes to compete and it is on a first come first served basis. We have kept the number tight because this is a conservancy and a place where it takes effort to ensure runners are safe from wildlife and we want to leave the environment well protected,” Ogutu added.
The 2017 edition was launched on Wednesday and this year’s race will seek to raise awareness about the projects that have benefited from the funds raised since the first race in 2000.
“There has been so much success since this race started and definitely this year, we expect to raise more funds towards conservation and also development of the community. We have seen what it has done over the past years and for us, we only hope for more success,” Lewa Concservancy CEO Mike Watson said.
The marathon will have three races; the 5km children’s fun run, the 21km and full marathon.