Marathon World Record Champion and Lewa Ambassador, Eliud Kipchoge, recently joined the Lewa community for a practice run in preparation for the 2021 Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon slated for 26th June. The Lewa community is led by led by Sarah Watson, the Director of Programs for Tusk Trust.
The Lewa community was joined by Edward Ndiritu, the Head of Anti-poaching at the Conservancy, among others. After the run, Kipchoge took time to learn and comment about the impact that last year’s marathon had on the communities and wildlife surrounding the conservancy.
“Over the years, the marathon has proven to be a melting pot of hundreds of sporting enthusiasts drawn from all over the world. Since its inception, the race has raised approximately Ksh. 800,000 in support of livelihood and conservation programs in Lewa and across Kenya. From this invaluable support, the neighboring communities have benefited through programs in education, healthcare, water, micro-enterprise, youth empowerment and more,” said Kipchoge.
For the second time, the marathon will be held virtually with organizers encouraging runners everywhere to lace up their shoes and join the challenge in support of Kenyan communities and wildlife. Runners can participate in the 5km, 10km, 21km or 42km categories. Participation is free, but all runners are encouraged to donate whatever they can.
“By coming together in partnership and as one global family, the communities that are supported by the marathon are able to derive their day-to-day livelihoods in ways that are compatible with thriving wildlife habitat,” said Watson.
The marathon is co-organized by Tusk Trust and Lewa and headline sponsored by telecommunication companies Safaricom and Huawei. So far, the unique marathon has raised millions of shillings to fund wildlife conservation and community development in Kenya over the last 21 years.
The funds raised have been used in various initiatives and projects across Kenya. Such initiatives include recovering Kenya’s Black Rhino population from the risk extinction, protecting the world’s critically endangered Grevy’s Zebra. The initiatives also provide healthcare, water and improved infrastructure for communities and supporting Lewa’s education programs.