World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge on Saturday, May 23 had a practice session at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to help gather support for the Virtual Lewa Marathon.
The 2020 edition, scheduled for June 27 was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Conservancy’s CEO admitting this year it was impossible to avoid cancelling the event.
“Hosting a race in a wildlife conservancy comes with a unique set of challenges. For the past 20 years, we have worked to mitigate these challenges and offer all 1400 of our annual runners what we hope is an optimum running experience. Having all of you at Lewa has always been the highlight of our year. Despite our great willingness to push on, having weighed all factors, we have come to the very difficult decision to cancel this year’s race,” Mike Watson, CEO of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy said.
The event’s organisers then set up another event, the Virtual Lewa Marathon, which they described as “an open challenge for runners around the world”, with the aim of raising funds for communities and conservation projects in Kenya, which have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kipchoge was flanked by world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor, Philemon Rono and Jonathan Korir.
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The crew was also joined by Tusk’s Tusk’s Director of Programmes in Africa, Sarah Watson.
“I have never taken part in the Lewa (Safari) Marathon before, but it was very inspiring to run with the rangers today in this beautiful conservancy and motivate them. I would ask the rangers to continue doing a good job, because they are conserving our wildlife and environment,” said Kipchoge.
“I have never taken part in the Lewa (Safari) Marathon before, but it was very inspiring to run with the rangers today in this beautiful conservancy and motivate them. I would ask the rangers to continue doing a good job, because they are conserving our wildlife and environment. I would also encourage them to stay positive, focused and continue doing what they’re doing despite the challenges they’re facing,” he added.