The number of participants in this year’s 24th edition of Lewa Safari Marathon that is powered by Huawei Technologies Kenya and Safaricom PLC have been increased to 1400.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Chief executive officer, Mike Watson, disclosed Tuesday that participation in the event slated for June 24 at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Meru County has reverted to the traditional field of 1,400 from 1,200.
Watson noted that this is after Covid-19 cases and restrictions eased with more people also expressing interest in being part of the noble venture.
Watson announced that registration for the event, whose theme is “Ditch the Desk, run in the Wild” starts at 8.30am Wednesday and will be offered on a first-come-first served basis.
Registration will open at lewasafarimarathon.co.ke.
It being a fundraising event for wildlife conservation in and community service, registration goes for Sh20,000 per participant at 42kilometre (full marathon) and 21km (half marathon), while children’s 5km race will attract a reduced entry charge of Sh3,000 from 3,500 each.
Participants registering as a group of 10 will have a discount of Sh 2,000 each.
“This year’s event will be bigger and better considering that it will be held in person and not last year when it was staged in person and virtually,” said Watson.
”The pandemic has eased and people are keen to get out and back to nature.”
Watson was speaking during the media and sponsorship launch at Sarova Stanley where Safaricom PLC gave out a cheque of Sh10 million with Huawei Technologies Kenya handing a cheque of US$ 100,000 (Sh13 million).
Watson said an estimated US$ 240,000 (Sh 31.2 million) was raised from last year’s venture after the 2020 and 2021 editions were held virtually due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
An estimated US$ 200,000 (Sh22.6m) was raised from each of the two events in 2020 and 2021.
It was a significant drop considering that over US$ 360,000 (Sh36m) was realised from the 2019 event.
With an improvement being marked last year, Watson projected that this year’s initiative is likely to hit the US$500,000 (Sh65m) mark.
While all proceeds go directly to conservation efforts at Lewa Conservancy and Community empowerment projects, Watson said the marathon that has Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge as its ambassador, is regarded as a world class sporting event.
Safaricom PLC chief human resource officer, Paul Kasimu, said since inception in 2000, over US$ 9m has been raised for wildlife conservation and community projects around Lewa Conservancy.
“This no mean feat gives us confidence…it’s not about money, but what the noble course stands for,” said Kasimu, who echoed the late Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s sentiments that nature is very unforgiving.
Huawei Technologies Kenya deputy chief executive officer, Sheng Kaifu said that environmental sustainability is a key pillar of Huawei’s sustainability strategy.