The annual Lewa Safari Marathon raises funds for a range of Tusk supported conservation, community development and education projects across Kenya and beyond. This year’s race has been cancelled due to the pandemic, so on 27 June Tusk is encouraging people all over the world to compete in the challenge virtually, by running 5km, 10km, 21km or even 42km in support.
Speaking about the virtual challenge, Eliud Kipchoge said, “I urge everybody to participate and just run where they are. We are all part of the human family and we must keep strong, stay fit, observe directives from our government[s], and know this situation is not permanent… It means a lot to me to run with rangers. To run with the people who watch over wildlife when we sleep at night and take care of rhino and elephant, is actually an honour.”
The global pandemic threatens to unravel decades of conservation progress and Tusk’s project partners in the field are already seeing a rise in poaching, land degradation and other wildlife crimes. And wildlife-based tourism income has been wiped out in countries where related revenues are vital sources of conservation financing. By taking part in the virtual challenge participants can help Tusk recoup some of these losses.
Kipchoge was joined on the run by another of the world’s greatest, half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor, as well as two other elite athletes Philemon Rono and Jonathan Korir, who travelled from Eliud’s training base in Kaptagat.
“It was very inspiring to run with the rangers today in this beautiful conservancy and motivate them. I would ask the rangers to continue doing a good job, because they are conserving our wildlife and environment. I would also encourage them to stay positive, focused and continue doing what they’re doing despite the challenges they’re facing.” Said Kamworor.
The athletes joined forces with rangers working on conservation’s frontline and Tusk’s Director of Programmes Sarah Watson, undertaking a training run within the famous reserve, running alongside some of Kenya’s most iconic wildlife including elephant, rhino and buffalo.
Edward Ndiritu, Lewa’s Head of Anti-Poaching joined the run and shared; “My team and I are honoured and very excited to have run with Eliud and his team today. Eliud is our brother, friend and supporter who recognises the challenges that we face as wildlife rangers. This run has boosted our morale and encouraged us to keep going in this difficult time”