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Nairobi, March 1st 2017…Safaricom, Tusk Trust and Lewa Conservancy have today launched the 18th edition of the Safaricom Marathon in Lewa.

The annual event is held to raise funds for wildlife conservation and community development, with up to 1,400 runners from all over the globe participating each year. Over KES 445 million has so far been raised, and the event has gained a reputation as one of the toughest marathons in the world.

This year’s theme – You run, I win – seeks to raise awareness about the projects and communities that have benefitted from funds raised through the Marathon. Among the projects include: Lewa Conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust, Mt. Kenya Trust, Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, Space for Giants, Koiyaki Guide School, Olare Orok Conservation Trust, Lamu Marine Conservation Trust, Watamu Turtle Watch, Bongo Surveillance Project, Kibodo Trust, Tsavo Trust, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Big Life Foundation and Borana Conservancy.

In addition, the funds support community initiatives around education, healthcare, employment and economic empowerment in different geographies, with beneficiaries spanning Central, Northern, Western, Rift and Coastal regions.

“We continue to see thousands of lives transformed through the Safaricom Marathon. We remain committed to supporting this cause because we have seen the difference it’s making to wildlife conservation and to the communities in and around the projects we support,” said Joseph Ogutu, Director for Strategy and Innovation – Safaricom.

Keeping to the tradition of the title sponsor, Safaricom will donate of KES 14 million.

“The Safaricom Marathon has played a significant role in transforming lives and the impact has been much higher than what we expected when we launched. From fewer wildlife being lost to poaching, to communities understanding the value of wildlife and actively participating in its protection, we’re todayenjoying the fruit of what began as a small idea around a campfire in 1999,” said Mike Watson, CEO – Lewa Conservancy. “Last year the Marathon raised KES 62 million, and our target this year is to increase this to KES 72 million (USD 700,000) so that we can expand our reach.”

As has been the tradition, the Safaricom Marathon will have three race categories: the 5KM Children’s Fun Run for 10 to 14 year olds and 15-17 year olds, the Half Marathon (21KM) for individuals, teams and corporates, and the Full Marathon (42KM), which is open to individual runners.

Last year, defending champion and four-time winner Fridah Lodepa took the women’s title again when she finished the Marathon in a time of 2:48:22 while Philemon Baaru took the men’s first position in 2:22:42.

The event will be held on Saturday 24th June 2017. For more details on registration, which opens on 2nd March 2017, please visit:https://www.safaricommarathon.com/

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