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SPORTS

Rhino Charge raises record Sh102 million

SPORTS By Oscar Pilipili | June 11th 2014
From left: Rhino Ark Trustees chairman Michael Karanja, Kenya Forest Service  Chairman Peter Kirigua, Kenya Water Towers CEO Francis Ole Nkake, KWS Deputy Director Robert Njue and Executive Director Rhino Ark Christian Lambarechts display a Sh102 million dummy cheque for the amount raised during this year’s Rhino Charge event at Kalama Conservancy in Samburu.

The  Kenya Forest Service (KFS) will continue to work with the RhinoArk Charitable Trust to ensure all forests are secure from human encroachment.

KFS chairman Peter Kirigua said  concerted efforts  by the Rhino Trust team in the last 26 years have helped them control logging, keep off poachers and assist  in achieving a seven percent tree cover in the country.

Kirigua was addressing  officials, participants and spectators of the just-concluded 2014 Rhino Charge at Kalama Conservancy, Samburu County  which  raised Sh102,919,334, crossing the mark of Sh100 million for the first time in the 26-year history of the event.

The amount beats last year’s figure of Sh90 million.

The event was won by Alan McKittrick (McKittick/Knight/Ray/Jessop/Bovard/Smith) in Car 5 with a distance of 31.34 km, against a theoretical shortest distance of 24.6 km. His team visited all the guard posts.

 Prizes were awarded at a colourful ceremony held in the Conservancy. Rhino Charge was started in 1989 to raise funds for the construction of the Aberdare electric fence.

Based on its success, the project has since been extended to Mt Kenya and Mau Eburu  forests.

David Lowe, Clerk of the Course, said:  “I am so happy to see the Rhino Charge and its conservation mission continuing to gain momentum with the Sh100 million mark being surpassed this year.

“The Rhino Charge Organising Committee remains committed to the conservation ideals of the late Ken Kuhle, the founder of Rhino Ark. As the event grows bigger, we are reviewing its organisation towards minimising its ecological footprint. I am delighted to note that our hosting communities not only benefit from the access fee from thousands of spectators, but also get their profile raised as a tourist and conservation destination,” he said.

The most prestigious Victor Ludorum – highest fundraiser and best placed by formula – was won by McKittrick’s team that has been best fundraiser for 12 years in a row.

This year they raised Sh7,236,768.  Since Car 5 entered the Charge in 1989, the team has raised a staggering Sh108,477,303.

The exciting Rhino Charge event lived up to expectations for the entrants who were flagged off at 7.30 am from the spread of guard posts scattered through the rugged rock strewn hills and gulleys of Kalama Conservancy.

In a tough contest at the gauntlet, Peter Bonde-Nielsen (Team 64) in Car 64 took the first position with a distance of 1.63 km.

Second position went to Gray Cullen (The Smiling Shenzies) in Car 22 with a distance of  1.76 km.

 Third place was taken by Asit Patel (Team Asit Patel) in Car 26 with a distance of 1.79 km.

Philip Hechle, who has supported the organisation of the Charge since its inception in 1989, was awarded the Spirit of the Charge trophy.

Anton Levitan, who was Clerk of the Course for 19 consecutive years and retired two years ago, attended the event as an official.  —[email protected]

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