Decorated Fridah Chepkite Lodepa will head for a seventh title in the 24th edition of Lewa Safari Marathon to be held at the Lewa Conservancy in Isiolo County on June 24.
The mother of three embarked on intense training on January 10 at her base in Iten with her Cloud Nine Athletics Club in readiness to defend the women’s 42Km category she dominated last year in the annual race whose proceeds are channeled towards wildlife conservation.
“I’m already in shape now, the remaining three months I’ll work on speed. I’ll also do long runs for endurance and mileage,” the triple Standard Chartered Marathon champion told Standard Sports.
In a press launch in Nairobi yesterday, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy CEO Mike Watson said they are targeting between 1000-1200 athletes in this year’s race whose theme is ‘Ditch the desk, run for the wild.’
“This is a world class sporting event that brings together people from all walks of life with shared values, so we encourage Kenyans to embrace the marathon spirit," said Watson.
“The marathon tests both physical and mental limits of participants, it also impacts our climate positively."
Mobile services providers Safaricom and Huawei Technologies have sponsored this year’s race to a tune of Sh10 million each.
“We are glad we have been in this marathon since its inception, we are proud to support the cause that it stands for, sponsoring the race is part of our sports development policy that we are undertaking.
“We are also on a mission to plant five million trees in the next five years, so far we have planted one million,” Paul Kasimu, Chief Human Resource Officer, Safaricom, said during their cheque handover ceremony.
Huawei Technologies Deputy CEO Sheng Kaifu said they are proud to support the marathon for the last 16 years that they have been in partnership with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
“The conservancy is home to some of the rarest wildlife and we know through our support and that of Safaricom, a difference has been made in preserving these iconic species for future generations as well as the surrounding communities,” Kaifu underscored.
The registration for this year’s race will officially start today with Sh20, 000 charged for participation in either 42km or 21km categories.
“This season, the race will purely be physical, we won’t have any virtual races as we have had in the past two editions due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ivy Wairimu, Tusk Trust Programme Manager clarified.
Race ambassador Eliud Kipchoge in a statement hailed the marathon saying: “To me, a running world is a happy world.
“We are all part of the human family, we must keep strong and stay fit for our wellbeing. By running together, we can also conserve our environment, empower our communities, take care of our wildlife and support those at Lewa who are working for the future for all of us.”