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Lewa’s Head of Anti-poaching Edward Ndiritu (left), Eliud Kipchoge (middle) and Sarah Watson, Tusk Director of Programmes finish a 16km practice run at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. PHOTO/Jeff Waweru

Athletics

Eliud Kipchoge drums up support for second virtual Lewa Marathon

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has 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 has 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.

“The Lewa Safari Marathon brings together three things that we are very passionate about as a company; Sports, Community and Conservation. We remain committed to supporting this cause through the Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon because we have seen how it continues to transform lives and that speaks to the essence of our purpose,” said Sitoyo Lopokoyit, Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom.

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.

However, these projects now face their greatest challenge to date – mounting a recovery plan in the face of social and economic crises.

The pandemic’s harsh legacy will continue for many years to come. With a third wave of the virus now crashing its way through the continent, communities are even more vulnerable than ever before.

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“The virtual Lewa Safari Marathon is about continuing to transmit this culture of togetherness and inclusion in transforming lives,” said John Kinoti, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s Community Development Manager.

Although running local trails, tracks and roads may not be as exciting as a wildlife conservancy, the event’s organisers are doing all they can to make the virtual race as exciting as possible; offering support and running tips from wildlife rangers, creating digital postcards, interactive maps, and ‘mini-challenges’, so the whole family can get involved.

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