NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 21- Former Kuala Lumpur champion, Fridah Lodepa will be out to make history as the first woman to win the Safaricom Lewa Marathon four-times in a row when the 17th edition takes place on Saturday at the Lewa wildlife Conservancy.
Lodepa, 35, who clinched a three-peat last year, will be joined by Elijah Mbogo, the men’s defending champion in the event that will be graced by London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and Paralympic world record holder Henry Wanyoike.
Lodepa and Elijah Mbogo will not only be looking to defend their titles but seek to improve their times of 2:50.26 and 2:20.18 respectively.
Three-time men’s winner Philemon Baaru, who won his third consecutive title in 2014, will be hoping to reclaim his crown after recovering from an injury he picked during last year’s race.
“This year’s edition of the Safaricom Marathon promises to be action packed. The elite athletes are raring to go and the enthusiasm of the other participants will definitely make great mix of fun and competition,” Director Consumer Business, Safaricom, Sylvia Mulinge said.
“We will also be targeting to break last year’s record on funds raised to enable us transform lives through conservation and community projects in and around the Lewa Conservancy.”
Last year, the Marathon raised over Sh60 million, bringing the total amount to over Sh445 million.
As the tradition, participants will compete in full marathon (42km), half marathon (21km) and children’s fun race (5km).
“We want the runners to enjoy a good run. For the last few weeks, the Conservancy has been a beehive of activity to ensure that everything that will make the event a success is done,” Lewa Wildlife Conservancy CEO, Mike Watson stated.
Since its inception, funds raised from the marathon have been used to support various initiatives in wildlife conservation, education, water and sanitation, agriculture and healthcare.
“It is a testament to the popularity of this annual event that we had to close online entries within hours of opening registration. Perhaps that is not surprising since it remains a unique experience to run wild amongst the wildlife in this stunning landscape that Lewa Wildlife Conservancy boasts,” Tusk Trust CEO, Charlie Mayhew noted.
This year’s event has attracted participants from 28 countries including the USA, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Finland, South Africa, Italy and host nation Kenya, among others.