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Another Successful Safaricom Marathon on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

July 22, 2010

On Saturday, the 26th of June, 1,000 runners from 20 different countries and about 3,000 spectators descended on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy for the 11th Safaricom Marathon.

Situated about 260 km from Nairobi, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy offers some of the most beautiful sceneries in Kenya. Mount Kenya lies to the south and there are breath-taking views north towards Samburu and Ol Lolokwe. The heavily protected 62,000 acre wildlife sanctuary is home to two of the most endangered species in the country: black rhino and Grevy’s zebra, herds of elephant, cheetah, lion and leopard, and a vast assortment of plains game including zebra, giraffe, buffalo and much more. It is a haven for wildlife.

So why have a marathon you shall ask? And why have it 11 years in a row? The facts are simple: throughout the years, the Safaricom Marathon has raised over $2.25 million dollars. These funds are used in a wide range of projects benefiting sustainable development, education, healthcare and wildlife. In other words, this event is using wildlife conservation as a catalyst to alleviate poverty, reduce conflict and improve education and livelihoods in rural areas rich in biodiversity. Its benefits cannot be denied.

Elephant on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy before the marathon

This year was also full of “firsts”. We had our first wheel chair athlete who completed the half marathon in about 3 and ½ hours. It was the first time the CEO of Tusk Trust, the co-organisers of the event, ran the race and it was a first for the number of spectators who cheered the runners on.

Running the Marathon is not for the faintest of hearts. It has been said to be one of the 7th toughest marathons in the world. The terrain is brutal and the heat is unbearable. But the energy and the spirit that surround the entire event is something not to be missed. The fact that you can say you have “run in the wild” is definitely to be bragged about and will help make all your family and friends extremely jealous. And to know that all your sweat and efforts are going straight to a good cause, to help communities and people around Kenya that really need it just make the whole thing worth it.

Photo by Emma Craig

So let's hope for another successful 10 years of the Safaricom Marathon and from all of us at Lewa, thank you to our sponsors and to those of you who participated.