NAIROBI, February 24 -The 17th Safaricom Lewa Marathon will run on June 25 at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, organisers who are targeting 1,200 entries announced Wednesday.
Lewa Conservancy CEO Mike Watson, said registration will open on Thursday with no changes to the course that has been used in previous editions.
“Last year we exceeded our entry by 200 participants but this year we will not go beyond 1,200 because it’s the maximum number the conservancy can accommodate. Registration for both local and international will be based on first come first serve.
“Last year our theme was “run for a good cause” and our focus was on raising funds for wildlife protection and supporting community projects around the conservancy. The theme remains the same because we feel it is important that participants understand and participate in this noble cause,” Watson said.
Safaricom Director for Strategy and Innovation Joe Ogutu, who announced the firm had injected Sh30m for this year’s event, encouraged people to participate at the event terming it as a social event and not a contest.
“For close to two decades now, the Safaricom Marathon has had great impact on the lives of communities that live within and around Lewa Conservancy. What began as an idea to save endangered species has transformed thousands of lives, as communities are now able to benefit from health, water and community projects, thanks to funds raised through the marathon,” Ogutu stated.
Last year, the marathon that is considered one of the hardest in the world collected Sh60m bringing the total amount to over Sh445m since its inception.
The funds have been used to support wildlife conservation, education, water and sanitation, agriculture and health within and around the conservancy in Laikipia County.
“We appreciate the role our partners have played in this journey and acknowledge the participants who endure the tough terrain each year to ensure we are able to conserve wildlife while making life better for communities more comfortable,” Watson added.
As the tradition, the marathon will see participants compete in 42Km, 21Km and 5Km children’s fun race.
Elijah Mbogo and three-time winner Fridah Lodepa are the defending champions in the 42km race while Robert Wambua and Lucy Karimi won the Half Marathon.
Winners of both full and half marathon will pocket Sh150,000 apiece.