14th Safaricom Marathon: Endurance, Fun and the Perfect Engagement!
Every year in June, Lewa bursts into a flurry of activity as the 'marathon fever' engulfs the entire Conservancy. The race track is laid out, banners are put up, hundreds of tents are pitched along with so many other preparations as Safaricom, Tusk Trust and Lewa get ready to welcome athletes, fitness enthusiasts, amateurs and spectators from all over the world.
Declared one of the toughest races on earth, the marathon is now in its 14th year and still going strong. Its appeal as an unmatched world-class sporting event continues to grow, receiving overwhelming publicity across the globe.
Missed out on this year's event? Here are a few highlights:
The proud winners
Philemon Baaru won the men's full marathon title while Fridah Lodipa outran all the female contestants to clinch the number one position. Each winner received Kshs. 150,000 and a 32 inch LCD TV. Jackson Limo led the half marathon men's race, clocking the finish line with a personal best time of 1:06:25. LekepanPerentis from Namunyak won the women's half marathon.
They both took home aNetbook N150 plus Kshs. 80,000. To view a full list of the winners, click here.
Philemon makes history
Philemon Baaru became the first athlete in the marathon's history to win the race for two consecutive years. An ecstatic Philemon says he owes his success to hard work and resilience and is determined to win again next year. He also hopes to set a new record. All the best Philemon!
The perfect proposal...
Like most runners, when Shuying Ong set off for the 21km half-marathon, all she could think of was reaching the finishing line. Unknown to the Deutsche Bank employee, the finish line was also going to serve as ground for a life-changing event. Her boyfriend of six years, Sengjin Soh, had secretly followed her from Singapore, booked himself into a different lodge on Lewa (she was staying at Kifaru, he was at Lewa House) and was patiently waiting to pop the question upon her completion of the race.
Spectators, the media and everyone else were ecstatic and cheered on loudly when at 12:05pm Shuying appeared at the final curve of the race. After the initial shock of seeing her boyfriend settled in, Sengjin promptly went down on one knee and proposed, much to the delight of onlookers. She said yes!
"This is my first time in Africa. I have to tell you it's the most amazing place and getting engaged here is the cherry on top of the cake", the happy bride-to-be exclaimed.
Lewa's new helicopter'Sue' eases up aerial surveillance during the event
Lewa's new helicopter, nicknamed Sue, has helped augment security and wildlife operations since its arrival in May. During the marathon, it greatly facilitated clearing of the course and aerial surveillance, ensuring that both the runners and wildlife were safe.