Organised by Lewa and Tusk, the annual Lewa Safari Marathon will for the second year running be taking place virtually on 26th June 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Runners can register for the marathon, dubbed one of the top 10 marathons on the planet by Runner’s World, and supported by HRH The Duke of Cambridge and World Marathon Record Holder Eliud Kipchoge on the Lewa Marathon website in order to save some of Kenya’s most iconic and critically endangered wildlife: Grevy’s Zebra, Lions, Elephants and Giraffes.
“The Lewa Safari Marathon brings together three things that we are very passionate about as a company; Sports, Community and Conservation. We remain committed to supporting this cause through the Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon because we have seen how it continues to transform lives and that speaks to the essence of our purpose. We have witnessed the difference it is making in wildlife conservation, education and health through working with the communities in and around the projects it supports,” said Sitoyo Lopokoyit, Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom.
Headline sponsored by telecommunication giants Safaricom and Huawei, the unique marathon has raised millions of dollars to fund wildlife conservation and community development in Kenya over the last 21 years. From recovering Kenya’s Black Rhino population from the brink of extinction, protecting the world’s critically endangered Grevy’s Zebra, and providing healthcare, water and improved infrastructure for communities, to supporting Lewa’s education programmes, the funds this marathon raises are invaluable to thousands in Kenya.
However, these projects now face their greatest challenge to date – mounting a recovery plan in the face of social and economic crises. The pandemic’s harsh legacy will continue for many years to come. With a third wave of the virus now crashing its way through the continent, communities are even more vulnerable than ever before.
For the second year running, the organisers are encouraging runners everywhere to lace up their shoes and join the challenge, in support of Kenya’s communities and wildlife.
“The Lewa Safari Marathon is no longer just an event in people’s diary, but one that is in their hearts. It has become part of our culture. Now we are affected by the covid-19 pandemic. But people know that even though we are separated physically, we are still connected emotionally. The Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon is about continuing to transmit this culture of togetherness and inclusion in transforming lives,” said John Kinoti, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s Community Development Manager.
Whether it’s 5km, 10km, 21km or even 42km, each stride is a step in the right direction. Entry is free, but all runners are encouraged to donate whatever they can.
Marathon world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge EGH, a great advocate of the Lewa Safari Marathon, will once again be running this year,“To me, a running world is a happy world,” said Eliud, “Last year, you joined me in a global running movement to support the guardians of wildlife and our natural heritage. This year, we have another opportunity to rally around my Kenyan brothers and sisters as they continue to feel the negative effects of the pandemic. Please join me on the 26th of June, wherever you are in the world, to run The Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon.”
Although running local trails, tracks and roads may not be as exciting as a wildlife conservancy, the event’s organisers are doing all they can to make the virtual race as exciting as possible; offering support and running tips from wildlife rangers, creating digital postcards, interactive maps, and ‘mini-challenges, so the whole family can get involved.
Tusk will be streaming the event live on the 26th of June, showing efforts from the Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon community across the world. However, this race has no time limit. Participants are welcome to complete their distance any time throughout June, over days or weeks. Join the #VirtualLewaSafarimarathon global community and run wild.