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Marathon to fundraise for Maasai girl-child

By - Jonah Onyango | September 23rd 2012

By Jonah Onyango

The second edition of Amazing Maasai Ultra-Marathon is set for September 29.

Proceeds from the event go directly to secondary school scholarships for local Maasai girls through the Amazing Maasai Girls Project, a US-registered non-profit organisation founded by the event organisers.

“Through last year’s event, we raised US$25,000 and are now financing full secondary scholarships for 20 bright girls who would not otherwise afford school,” said race directors Sarah Edson and Molly Fitzpatrick.

“Without these scholarships, the girls would marry at puberty, not receive more than a primary school education, and bare several children before their 18th birthday. This education gives them a chance to have a different life,” said Fitzpatrick.

While releasing updates of the event on Saturday, Fitzpatrick said that this year’s goal is to sponsor another 20 girls for secondary school scholarship.

Provide scholarships

“Our goal over time is to develop a scholarship pipeline to provide scholarships to every qualified girl,” said Fitzpatrick.

“Runners will be providing girl education throughout the community,” Fitzpatrick added.

For international travelers, there will be a safari and run race package from September 24-30, including game drives, guided safari warm-up runs, and exploration around scenic Mount Kenya in Central Kenya.

There are the 21km, 42km, and 75km ultra distance options, but all races are physically challenging.

 “The whole event is truly remarkable: It is Kenya’s only ultra-marathon, the fastest runners take home prize live cows and goats,” said Edson.

 The race course is set in Maasai community lands not far from mighty Mount Kenya (Laikipia North, near Kimanjo).

  “The Assured Alliance Amazing Maasai Ultra is not only a race. It brings cultures together; it is a whole week of exploration and adventure. All of this makes it a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Edson.

Won cattle

 Last year, the top finishers were all Maasai primary and secondary school students.

 The top winner of the 42km race was Lucy Sembe who won in three hours and 52 minutes.

 The top winner of the 75km race was 16-year-old school boy David Simpiri who won with a time of 6:28 minutes.  For their efforts, they each won cattle.

 Edson said that this year, most of the local Maasai runners will be secondary school students from the surrounding schools.

 “There will be up to 200 students running, all racing for the top spots,” she said.

 “Prizes will only be provided for the top Maasai finishers in each category for male and female- first prize will receive a cow, second prize a goat, and third, forth, and fifth prizes a solar lamp,” said Edson.

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