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Kenya's race "in the wild" attracts huge foreign entry

26 February 2015, 08:23

Nairobi - For 16 years, the world has descended on the slopes of Mt. Kenya to run in the wilderness of the Lewa Conservancy for a just cause, to save the wildlife.

This year's Lewa Marathon has attracted over 1,200, with over 300 foreigners expected to compete in the event. The event is sponsored by Safaricom and will be held on June 2.

"Out of the 1,200 athletes, we have foreigners from over 20 nations. We are doing it on a first come, first serve basis," Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told journalists in Nairobi.

The event has in the past proved to be a big attraction for foreigners, especially from China. The theme of the race is "Run for a Good Cause." It aims at raising funds for wildlife protection and supporting the community projects around the conservancy and will have 21km and 42km races for men and women.

The marathon support conservation activities in Lewa Conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust, Mt Kenya Trust, Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, Space for Giants and many others conservancies in the region.

Also read: Lewa conservancy receives worldwide award, recognition

Michael Watson, the chairman of the Lewa Conservancy, said the race has helped change lives of communities in the area.

Meanwhile, Safaricom, has warned it will not be sponsoring more athletics events if its officials fail to tackle escalating doping cases in the country.

Collymore said his company will also freeze sponsorship for sports federations embroiled in wrangles.

"We only support Lewa Marathon, which is a sporting event but a conservation thing. There has been nothing in regards to other sports activities until these things are sorted out. We will not do anything to if they are not doing enough to stop doping," he said.

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- Xinhua


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