|Where:||Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya|
2016 Safaricom Marathon
Tusk’s Safaricom Marathon — renowned as one of the world’s top ten marathons — highlights the strengths of Kenya. Setting it apart from other events is the significant impact that it has on communities — giving back hundreds of thousands of dollars to community development, education, healthcare, and wildlife conservation initiatives across Kenya.
The Safaricom Marathon was first held at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in 2000 with 150 participants. In 2015 the event attracted 1,400 runners and raised more than £400,000 for projects across Kenya.
The event is run within the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and through some of East Africa’s most beautiful scenery. Mount Kenya lies to the south and there are breathtaking views north towards Samburu and Mount Ololokwe. The heavily protected 61,000 acre conservancy is home to over 100 rhino, herds of elephant, giraffe, buffalo, the rare Grevy’s zebra and much more.
The 2016 Safaricom Marathon
This year, we welcomed 1,400 runners in the full and half marathon event, 183 children in the 5km fun run and over 5,000 spectators who provided great motivation for our runners and were able to enjoy the Festival in the Park after the race. Of the runners, 150 flew in from overseas to run and we had a record-breaking 45 nationalities represented with people hailing from as far afield as Fiji, China, and Argentina.
Philemon Baaru overcame last year's injury, returning to win the men's full marathon for the fourth time, crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 22 minutes. (The course record for the full marathon is 2 hours, 18 minutes - a time set by Philemon back in 2014.)
Fridah Lodepah added another Safaricom Marathon win to her tally with a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes in the women's full marathon category.
Peter Wambua from Ngare Ndare Forest Trust raced around the half marathon course in a mere 1 hour, 5 minutes to clinch first prize in the men's category while Polline Wanjiku was the first half marathon woman to cross the finish line in 1 hour, 16 minutes.
Over the last 17 years the event has transformed countless lives and invested over USD 5 million into Kenya. We hope this year will be as successful as ever. Blackrock, the team that won the prize for the most funds raised, have contributed an astonishing USD 150,000 thus far. In the coming months we will know the total amount raised by the event this year. The results will soon be published on the Tusk and Safaricom Marathon websites with details about how the funds will be distributed between the various beneficiaries.
As with previous years, the funds raised will go to benefit a wide range of conservation and community programmes across Kenya. Thousands of children in a number of schools will receive new classrooms and improved facilities; numerous pastoral communities to the north of Lewa will see benefits as marathon funds will support a range of initiatives designed to improve lives and increase security for both people and wildlife. Tusk will also direct considerable funds into rhino and elephant conservation at Lewa as well as a variety of other critical projects spread across the country.
The course is set on dirt roads over an undulating 13-mile course through the reserve, across savannah plains, along river banks and through acacia woodland before finishing close to Lewa’s headquarters. The full marathon is two laps of the same course.
The race begins in the early morning before the heat of the sun gets too much. The altitude (Lewa is at 5,550ft above sea level) adds to the challenge. The course records are 2:18:42 for the full marathon, and 1:05:00 for the half.
Each competitor is asked to raise a minimum of £1,000 for Tusk.