Safaricom LEWA marathon 2016 took place on 25th June. This is one of the most hyped runing experience in Kenya because of its unique setting (Running in the wild) . This marathon takes place in one of the most beautiful landscape in this country. Lewa wildlife conservancy is a UNESCO world heritage site and a sanctuary for all wildlife especially endangered species. I don’t want to make my post about the marathon you can read all about it on the Lewa and Safaricom websites. My focus is on my personal experience, the friends I made and my appreciation of such events.
On ‘Race day’ my friend Caro and I were on the road by 7.00 AM. I was super excited as it was my first time to attend the Lewa marathon but for my friend it was her first trip ever to Isiolo county and to the Lewa wildlife conservancy. I have been on that road severally and the drive was as beautiful as I remembered especially in the morning light. I was eager to show Caro the ‘mowhawk’ hill in Timau, the view of Mount Kenya from Kisima and of course the beautiful live fences that characterize most of the large farms in Timau.
My other friend, our host at Lewa had warned us not to expect to meet any elephants as they had been moved away to make room for the runners. I am an elephant person so you can imagine how excited I was when just a few meters into the conservancy I spotted a herd of elephants . In my excitement I may have shouted a bit louder than l intended because I remember Caro was ready to take off in fear. We took a few photos including an elephant calf which was half hiding in the bushes. This bull however stood out for me as it strutted across the grass land in the morning light.
Another few meters ahead we found some grevy zebras and impalas grazing by the road side. There was a fight of some sort, possibly a male impala trying to take its position as the dominant male in the herd. We didnt stay long enough to find out how it ended.
Lewa is home to quite a number of grevys. This particular species is a resident of northern Kenya and is classified as one of the endangered species. here are a few facts about this species
- It is physically larger than the plain zebra
- It has thinner stripes, a white belly and larger ears
- It’s main habitat is northern Kenya and Ethiopia
- Its main threat is habitat loss, competition with livestock and predation.
In January this year citizen scientists took part in the first great grevys rally to carry out a census to determine the population of these animals using IBEIS technology. The results will be released later this year as scientists are still analyzing over 45000 images submitted by the citizen scientists.
Back to the Lewa marathon, this year I was the spectator, the sight seer and the cheer leader. If I start now I believe I can survive the 21 km race in 2017.
If you would like to participate keep checking the Lewa conservancy website as well as safaricom. Every contribution whether monetary or information will go a long way to supporting this organization in its quest to care for all wildlife and save the endangered species from extinction. Go to a conservation area near you get inspired and make your contribution.
I will leave you with a few images which I managed to capture during my two days at the conservancy.