NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 4 – Safaricom and Huawei will partner to sponsor this year’s Lewa Marathon scheduled for June 27 and will be revamped and named the Lewa Safari Marathon owing to a restructuring in sponsorship.
Safaricom, who have been the lead sponsors for the last 20 years of the marathon have decided to reduce their sponsorship and in turn will partner with Chinese Electronics company Huawei to fund this year’s event to a tune of Sh30mn, both contributing Sh15mn each.
“Safaricom has been a major sponsor of the event for 30 years and have invested hugely. They had made the decision that 20 years was enough and would reduce their support but remain on board. They managed to persuade their partners Huawei to come in and support them as co-lead sponsors,” Lewa Conservancy CEO Mike Watson told Capital Sport.
He added; “We saw it as an opportunity to rename the event. We felt it would be good top put safari in there because it is synonymous with Kenya. The international community knows it as Kenyan and this was also to give it a grounded name in Kenya and give it an international perspective.”
This year’s race has been scheduled for June 27 with 1,400 runners targeted with registration set to start on Thursday morning. The prize money has remained as Sh150,000.
Watson has told Capital Sport that they intend to surpass their target of Sh500mn from last year, calling on more corporates to come on board to register for the race, whose proceeds go to conservation of the Lewa Conservancy as well as helping the neighboring communities.
Meanwhile, Safaricom acting CEO Michael Joseph has also reiterated the call to have more corporates on board to raise funds more specifically for conservation purposes.
“This is our heritage that we should strive to preserve. If we don’t do so, we will not have the wildlife that we pride ourselves in in the coming years. We really should make it about ourselves and it is about time that more Kenyan corporates come on board,” Joseph stated.
Since its inception, the marathon has been able to raise almost Sh800mn which has gone towards various community projects in the Lewa area.
“The positive impact that the Lewa Conservancy has on the wildlife and surrounding communities is truly incredible, and the marathon plays a crucial role in enabling that. Over the last 12 years we have donated over Sh100mn and we know that every shilling is making a real difference,” Stanley Shenlei, Huawei’s Key Account Director said.