A MARATHON WEEKEND WITH A DIFFERENCE
“Vuu…” the deafening sound of the vuvuzela could be heard all around the camp as excited fans ‘blew’ the night away, probably too excited to sleep on their first night at their various campsites. Described by many as one of the greatest exports from Africa, the vuvuzela characterized this year’s Safaricom Lewa Marathon, mixed in with the Fifa World Cup fever in South Africa.
A total of 85 corporate teams graced this year’s edition of the marathon at the famous Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on Saturday June 26, 2010. Renown for being one of the toughest marathons in the world, this year attracted over 100 international participants from as far as Denmark, France, Sweden, UK, US, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and even some African countries such as Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Corporate bodies dominated the 21 kilometers half marathon event christened as the team event, each in an effort of trying to outdo each other in an effort of winning the main prize of Ksh. 100,000, trophy and 10 LG mobile phones, a prize won by Timaflor company (Team A) with a joint time of 26.21. Our very own Nation Media Group team came in at a solid position 55. Through this race, teams were tested on the importance of team work and encouragement as a whole.
Going by the name Lewa, all was expected during this marathon weekend as spectators and athletes alike enjoyed themselves at the Wildlife Conservancy busy from the hustles and bustles that typify life in the city.
Both races (42 and 21 kilometers) were flagged off at 7.15 am, with the children’s five kilometers race flagged off at exactly 7.00 am. Many runners were running their debut performance, one of whom Benson Loshareng, 20, won the full marathon (42 kilometers) race, clocking 2:20:23. No surprise though, a few champions such as Catherine Ndereba and Paralympics champion Henry Wanyoike showed their support by participating in the 42 kilometer race.
Not to miss any world cup action especially the Ghana vs. USA match, LG electronics set up gigantic screens within the Conservancy. Not too far from the marathon, the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) tent served as the weekend’s main attraction with a live band, DJ and endless music, an atmosphere only one could describe as exhilarating, going by the type of music played. Some minutes past 11.00 pm, loud cheers, vuvuzelas and screams could be heard after Ghana earned its ticket into the Fifa World Cup quarterfinals.
In spite of the cold showers and chilling weather, it still remains a wonder how Safaricom has turned an exciting weekend camping trip into a community project over the years. Last year alone, the company generated a record Ksh. 37 million, which was channeled into Lewa community projects such as rebuilding the Chief Conservation Officer’s house, which was close to degeneration.
Memorable moments from the weekend trip…..watching our own team (NMG) participate in the annual race and acquiring a few blisters and sore feet along the way.