The annual Lewa Safari Marathon will for the second year running be taking place virtually on June 26, 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The organisers -Tusk and Lewa – are encouraging runners everywhere to lace up their shoes and join the challenge, in support of Kenya’s communities and wildlife.
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.
Headline sponsored by telecommunication giants Safaricom and Huawei, the marathon has raised millions of dollars to fund wildlife conservation and community development in Kenya over the last 21 years.
“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,” said Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom, Sitoyo Lopokoyit.
“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.”
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 raised through the marathon are invaluable to thousands of Kenyans.
However, these projects now face their greatest challenge to date – mounting a recovery plan in the face of social and economic crises. With a third wave of the virus now crashing its way through the continent, communities are even more vulnerable than ever before.
“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.
Marathon world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, will be running this year.
“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,” said Kipchoge.
Tusk will be streaming the event live on June 26, showing efforts from the Virtual Lewa Safari Marathon community across the world.
Runners can register for the marathon on https://www.lewasafarimarathon.co.ke in order to save some of Kenya’s most iconic and critically endangered wildlife: Grevy’s Zebra, Lions, Elephants and Giraffes.
Participants can complete their distance any time throughout June, over days or weeks. Join the #VirtualLewaSafarimarathon global community and run wild.