This year's SafarIcom Marathon will take place on 29 June at the Lewa Wildlife Conservacy in the northern part of Kenya, the organisers said here Wednesday. Sponors Safaricom Limited, a leading integrated communications provider, unveiled the date while kicking off registration for the event.
Registration for the Marathon, now in its 14th year, will close on 10 May with participants taking part in the 21-kilometre half marathon, 42-km full marathon and 5-km races.
This year’s event, dubbed “Run for the Wild”, is taking place on the back of an alarming dwindling of wildlife numbers in the country, due to runaway poaching activities in national parks across the country.
In particular, there has been a marked increase of elephant poaching in the last 24 months which reached a crescendo with the massacre of a family of 12 elephants in a remote part of the Tsavo East National Park early this year.
“Poachers are willing to walk for days in hostile terrain in order to kill elephants for their tusks. I am sharing this story with you to show you how determined these criminals are to get what they want.' said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore during the launch of registration.
'You and I will therefore have to double our efforts to protect our wild life with as much if not more determination,” said Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore.
A breakdown of funds raised last year shows that education and healthcare projects got Sh 5.46 million and 3.78 million (US$ 1 = 87 shilling) respectively whereas a further 35 percent of the revenue was invested in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy which is home to a variety of large African wildlife to include lions, elephants, rhinoceros, and the Cape buffalo.
“The Safaricom Marathon has earned a reputation for being one of the toughest endurance races in the world – last year attracting some 1,200 runners which included over 35 nationalities. More importantly, the event has also become one of Kenya’s greatest fund-raising initiatives,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Tusk Trust, Charlie Mayhew.
The organisors have asked interested participants to get registration forms off the Safaricom Marathon website. http://www.safaricom.co.ke/safaricommarathon.
Safaricom provides a comprehensive range of services under one roof. This includes mobile and fixed voice and data services on a variety of platforms.
With annual revenues in excess of Sh 100 billion, it is Kenya’s widest 3G network with a growing fibre optic cable footprint and its most expansive WIMAX presence. Safaricom also sponsors the Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
Safaricom pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful such service anywhere in the world.
Launched in March 2007 as a money transfer service, it now has over 15 million customers and over 37,000 Agent outlets countrywide.
Safaricom was one of Kenya's four mobile telephony service providers, who lost customers after the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) disabled subscribers who failed to beat last December's deadline for registration of SIM cards.
It had about 17 million subscribers before the communications regulators switched off subscribers who failed to beat the deadline.
Safaricom has had a long standing tradition of sponsoring major sports events in the country.
The Lewa Marathon is held under the aegis of the communication firm's Corporarate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Proceeds from the race have been used to established community-based forestry programmes in the Lewa area, provision of clean water, building of hospitals and rehabilitation of roads.
The Marathon project has also been to support 10 Primary Schools and three Secondary Schools helping over 5,000 children in northern Kenya.
In addition it has constructed classrooms, fences, libraries, staff houses, and supplied furniture, desks and education materials.
It also supports Elephant Corridor Game Guards and Animal Protection Unit in Mt Kenya area. It also supports 100-plus rhinos.