Yesterday, Saturday 23rd of May, Lewa Ambassador Eliud Kipchoge travelled from his training base in Kaptagat, Uasin Gishu to join six Lewa rangers on a practice run for the Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon Challenge- a global run in support of conservation and rangers to be held on the 27th of June.
With just over a month to go, Eliud’s presence and participation was a boost for the wildlife rangers and Tusk’s Director of Programmes in Africa, Sarah Watson who joined them on the run.
As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, this year’s Lewa (Safari) Marathon annually organised by Lewa and Tusk Trust has been cancelled. The event, which in previous years has raised an annual Ksh.50,000,000 (USD500,000) for a range of conservation, community development and education projects across Kenya, benefits thousands.
In place of the annual marathon the two organisations are now hosting a virtual challenge on the 27th of June and encouraging their supporters to take part by running wherever they are in the world.
Speaking about the virtual marathon, Eliud Kipchoge said, “I urge everybody to participate and just run where they are. We are all part of the human family and we must keep strong, stay fit, observe directives from our government, and know this situation is not permanent.”
Eliud was accompanied by Geoffrey Kamworor, 5-time world champion and World Half Marathon Record holder as well two other elite athletes Philemon Rono and Jonathan Korir.
“I have never taken part in the Lewa (Safari) Marathon before, but it was very inspiring to run with the rangers today in this beautiful conservancy and motivate them. I would ask the rangers to continue doing a good job, because they are conserving our wildlife and environment. I would also encourage them to stay positive, focused and continue doing what they’re doing despite the challenges they’re facing.”
Edward Ndiritu, Lewa’s Head of Anti-Poaching shared “My team and I are honoured and very excited to have run with Eliud and his team today. Eliud is our brother, friend and supporter who recognises the challenges that we face as wildlife rangers. This run has boosted our morale and encouraged us to keep going in this difficult time.”