Sunday, 26 June 2011
ACTION AT THE SAFARICOM MARATHON IN LEWA
Over 1,000 participants take part in this year’s Safaricom Marathon in Lewa this past weekend.
Regarded as one of the toughest marathons in the world, the Safaricom Marathon seeks to use Kenya’s most successful sport, athletics, as a fundraising tool towards conservation efforts in the Lewa conservancy while at the same time funding development projects in Northern range land areas and the rest of Kenya. Its unique and peerless experience has earned the Safaricom Marathon the accolade of being listed as “one of the top 10 things to do before you die.”
The participants, drawn from 28 different nations across all continents, underscore the magnitude of the annual event now in its 12th year.
The numbers will be a drastic rise from the 180 participants that ran in the pioneer marathon in 2000 raising Sh4.2 million. Last year the marathon attracted 1,150 participants raising Sh48.8 million.
A host of corporate sponsors have come up in support of the event among them, Seacom, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Radio Africa, Land Rover Kenya among several others.
Over Sh200 million has been raised through the Safaricom Marathon since inception. These funds have gone into life changing development initiatives in sectors such as health, education, environment and energy benefitting thousands of locals in the remote Northern range land areas and lately, the rest of Kenya.
“The Safaricom Marathon is exceptional in several ways. It combines an unusual fundraising initiative with one of Kenya’s greatest sporting passions-running. This has seen the marathon develop into one of the greatest events on Kenya’s sports calendar,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore on the event.
Top names on the world athletics stage among them Catherine Ndereba have participated in previous Safaricom Marathon events and this year will be no exception.
During the event this Saturday, approximately 1,000 competitors will take part in the half marathon (21Km) while another 150 will be going for the full marathon (42Km).
Apart from these, 150 children will be participating in the 5Km kids fun run. The full marathon attracts individual participation whereas the half marathon is a team event consisting of 5 to 10 runners.
As characteristic of the event, security will be of utmost importance with armed rangers, two choppers and a spotter plane all deployed to watch over the runners in the conservancy which is home to over 100 rhinos, herds of elephants, among other wild animals.
An estimated 5,000 spectators are expected in Lewa for the event with arrangements and logistics all in top gear.
Among the other beneficiaries of the Safaricom Marathon are Northern Rangelands Trust, Mount Kenya Trust, Lewa Communities Development Programme, Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, Kenya Wide Projects and the Kenya Red Cross.