Kenya is set to host this year’s Lewa Safari Marathon, formerly Safaricom Lewa Marathon, virtually on Saturday June 27.
With global coronavirus putting a halt on international travel and the possibility of having to cancel the world-renowned global event, Huawei Kenya, one of the sponsors, has pledged to provide the much-needed support required to host a virtual event and launch the ‘preparing for tomorrow’ campaign.
The campaign is in recognition that the extraordinary impacts the marathon has had on wildlife, communities and the tourism economy has only been possible because of the hard work of the previous 20 years, and that activities today are critical to preparing for even greater impact in the future.
“Since 2008, when Huawei Kenya first got involved we have been able to inject over Ksh100 million into the Ksh800 million the marathon has fundraised for more than 80 education, health, agriculture and conservation projects across the country. Every effort we can make now to protect the wildlife will make sure we are prepared for when tourism returns and creates jobs and benefits for local communities. The costs to protect the wildlife today are small compared to the benefits they will bring for generations to come,” said Mike Watson, CEO of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
The economy today is even more reliant than ever on the telecommunications networks such as fiber, 2G, 3G, and 4G as well as IT systems such as mobile money and e-government that Huawei has helped build in Kenya over the last 20 years. The networks, according to Huawei, will come in handy in supporting small businesses, online learning, e-health, smart logistics, digital finance, and other applications that will drive Kenya’s economy into the future.
Lewa is home to 11 percent of the global population of the endangered Grevy’s zebra, and currently hosts over 200 rhinos across the Lewa-Borana landscape, as well as a host of other wildlife species.
“#preparingfortomorrow campaign embodies the hard work Lewa has been doing in conservation and is true to our core values as an organisation. Kenya has some of the best and fastest internet coverage and speeds, as well as technology innovations, on the continent and we are proud to have played a role in that—as we are also proud to have played a role in Kenya’s successful and innovative conservation and tourism efforts,” said Stanley Shenlei, Huawei Key Accounts Director.
The 2020 Virtual Safari marathon already has over 1000 registered participants from over 70 cities, representing 20 countries With no stopwatch, no time sheet and no spectators, participants are invited to run or walk either 5km, 10km, 21km in their garden, street, local park, beach or treadmill and join forces with others to raise awareness to the tireless work done by the frontline guardians on the ground.
Acknowledging the unique position and importance of this year’s marathon, Kenyan artist, Nyashinski, has contributed his hit single tune, Marathon Runner, as the theme song for the event.