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The world’s wildest challenge

Tusk’s Lewa Safari Marathon returns for its 25th anniversary
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Lewa Safari Marathon 2022, credit David Kabiru

Main image: Lewa Safari Marathon 2022, credit David Kabiru

The Lewa Safari Marathon is one of the most breathtaking yet demanding races in the world, notorious for its captivating terrain and incredible wildlife experiences.

The annual event, organised by African conservation charity Tusk and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in partnership with Safaricom, is one of a kind, voted one of the top 10 races to take on in your life by Runner’s World.

Tough terrain

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year on 29 June, the race continues to raise vital funds for conservation and community projects across Kenya, having grown into one of the continent’s most impactful sporting events.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is a UNESCO world heritage site, providing a stunning location for the marathon – from extensive grasslands through to springs and woodland.

However, the landscape also means the marathon is one of the toughest out there.

Runners face a series of tough hills at an altitude of 5,500 feet and up to 35 degree heat while navigating the famous Lewa course, which was originally designed by the late European 5,000m champion, Bruce Tulloh.  

Running with zebras

Participants share the course with some of Africa’s most diverse wildlife, and can find themselves running alongside zebras, impalas, giraffes and ostriches.

The Conservancy hosts all five of Africa’s ‘Big Five’: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.

The funds raised by the event contribute towards the protection of Lewa’s renowned rhino. The race is also carefully managed to operate as sustainably as possible, and a large ranger force is on hand to monitor wildlife and keep runners safe.

‘As we face unprecedented threats to our planet, it is essential that we take action to protect our wildlife and their habitats. The Lewa Safari Marathon is not only an opportunity to challenge yourself and connect with nature, but it is also a way to make a positive impact on the communities and wildlife of northern Kenya and beyond. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this unique opportunity to disconnect from our screens and connect with nature on 29 June, in Kenya’s most spectacular wildlife conservancy.’

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy CEO

Celebrity runners

The internationally acclaimed event attracts participants from across the globe, connecting 40 countries with a common purpose to make lasting change for a brighter future for Kenya and Kenyans.

By taking part runners are giving back to conservation and local communities across Northern, Central and Coastal Kenya. 

Notable participants who have taken on the challenge include the Princess of Wales’s sister, Pippa Middleton and Tusk celebrity ambassadors Ben Fogle, Jack Savoretti and Levison Wood.

‘We are proud that what started as an experiment and just an idea for a ‘fun run’, has since grown into a major international sporting event that has enabled Tusk to fund and support an impressive portfolio of conservation, community and education programmes right across Kenya. Looking ahead to the next 25 years, Tusk hopes that our enduring partnership with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy will continue contributing to protecting Kenya’s rich natural heritage.’

Founder & president of Tusk

$9m raised to date

Since its inception in 2000, the event has raised over $9m in support of conservation, education, livelihoods and healthcare initiatives.

This includes supporting 10 conservation projects, 27 schools, six hospitals and clinics and a network of 45 community conservancies.

The marathon’s remarkable 25-year legacy spans generations, with many of the beneficiaries of Lewa’s education programme now employed by the conservancy itself.

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