The Lewa Safari Marathon, a rebrand of the famous Safaricom Lewa Marathon, will be run virtually today, June 27.
Athletes and fans were greeted with shock after the 2020 edition was canceled late March due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
The novel coronavirus led to a complete shutdown of sporting events worldwide but race organisers have rallied behind Lewa and provided the much-needed support required to host the virtual event.
According to Mike Watson, CEO of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the campaign is in recognition that the extraordinary impacts the marathon has had on wildlife, communities and the tourism economy.
“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 Watson.
The marathon which already has over 1000 registered participants from over 70 cities, representing 20 countries, is truly a global challenge.
With no stopwatch, no timesheet and no spectators, participants will 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.
Kenyan artist Nyashinski has contributed his hit single tune, Marathon Runner, as the theme song for the event to acknowledge the unique position and importance of this year’s marathon.
Marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge toured the Lewa conservancy course in May and encouraged athletes to register and take part in the virtual race.
Kipchoge said he would take part in the virtual race, which will be used to raise funds for wildlife conservation.
Since the first edition in 2000, the race continued to attract hundreds of elite runners as well as thousands of fun runners – local and foreign.
This year’s edition is sponsored by Huawei technologies and Safaricom PLC.