Other Articles from Santinah Nyagah
This is My Kenya : Where Leisure Meets Conservancy
“We owe it to ourselves and our children to conserve the environment for future generations of Kenyan children. Our survival depends on the work we do today”
Conservation is one of the things I am passionate about and I owe to my father who spent most of his time filming wildlife and environmental documentaries. It is why every year for the past 16 years I have looked forward to the weekend in June when all roads lead to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy for the Safaricom marathon.
The aim of the Lewa marathon is to raise funds towards conservation efforts, healthcare and education programs in areas neighbouring the conservancy. Last year alone the Safaricom Marathon raised 58 million shillings which was the highest amount so far in the history of the marathon.
Last year Pippa Middleton, the younger sister to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, was at the event. In an interview by Hello USA, she talks about her experience of the event “it was tough – tougher than anything I’d been faced with before and required very inch of my energy, stamina and stubbornness”
Why is conservation so important in this case?
Conserving our environment is a matter of survival for all of us being part of the Safaricom Lewa experience. As a writer and a mum of 3 going for this adventure in the wild is a way to show support and raise awareness for conservation efforts in the country.
This year’s Safaricom Marathon, which is in its 17th edition will be held on the 25th of June. It will take you 5 hours to get to Lewa by road, an exciting opportunity for a family weekend out of Nairobi . If you find the drive not to your fancy, SafariLink has 2 flights that take 45 minutes from Nairobi to Lewa Downs.
Children will get to see and enjoy the amazing scenery on the drive and a stop over at Nanyuki, arguably one of Kenya’s most beautiful towns is a must. The town is more than 100 years old and has retained most of its charm since before the British settled in 1907.
Be sure to leave Nairobi early to get to Lewa by daylight Accommodation is available at the self-catering campsite, Safaricom village, the Maridadi Camp or in Nanyuki town.
On the morning of the event, get up early as the race starts at 7am. The temperatures then are about 12-15 degrees Celsius but later in the day the temperatures do get to 20- 35 degrees Celsius so be sure to carry a wide hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and enough water to keep hydrated.
Registration for anyone hoping to participate at the event is closed but spectators coming to support their teams, particular athlete or just enjoy a weekend away from Nairobi will have a thoroughly good time. The spectator form needs to be filled out by anyone planning to attend the event. My plan is to support and wildly cheer all of the ordinary Kenyans, professional and amateur athletes taking part in this noble event.
Funds raised will go towards the Lewa Healthcare programme, which runs 3 clinics inthe areas bordering the conservancy. The clinics cater to thousands of people who have no access to health care.
The money raised is also used to fund water projects around the area and promote community participation in conservation efforts. As a mother with children, it will be great to have them experience the raw beauty of their country Kenya, as runners run alongside our country’s beautiful wildlife. Something very few people get to enjoy and experience in their lifetime.
Hopefully it also teaches them a lesson on the importance of giving back to the country they call home when they are older. The race which is in 3 categories has a children’s race that is 5 kilometers, the minimum age for entry for this race is 10 years. It has a limit of 150 entries, next year my daughter should be old enough to attend.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has received international recognition for its conservation efforts and was declared a world heritage site in late June 2013. It is part of the Mount Kenya Heritage site which also includes Ndare forest. Its efforts in protecting endangered animals, promoting grasslands and enriching communities are lessons on how each of us can leave a mark, creating a legacy of responsibility for the environment, wildlife and communities we are a part of.
Let us go cheer the 1,300 athletes who will be up at the crack of dawn, raising funds for a noble and worthy cause, touching people’s lives and leaving a mark.