Sports Tourism – the Safaricom Lewa Marathon

Sports Tourism – the Safaricom Lewa Marathon

Sports Tourism – the Safaricom Lewa Marathon

Athletes at the Lewa Marathon

Threats of terror attacks have significantly reduced the numbers of tourists visiting the country, and there have been concerted efforts by industry players to promote the tourism industry through sporting attractions.

Sports tourism is the fastest growing sector in the tourism industry, and the growing international appeal of the Safaricom Lewa Marathon cannot be questioned, given its vital role in the tourism sector. Hordes of tourists, both domestic and foreign, throng the Lewa sanctuary each year, either as runners, sponsors or spectators, making an immense contribution to the ecosystem.

Based in Meru County, and a few kilometers from Isiolo Town, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is home to numerous game that include the rhinos, elephants, lions, buffaloes, giraffes, elands, gazelles, zebra, just to name a few. The plains are magnificent and the background also includes the world famous site of Mount Kenya, making the race one of the top 10 ‘must do’ marathons in the world.

With the increasing number of runners taking part in the marathon, from 180 runners in 2000 to the current 1100 runners, more people are coming into the country each year to sample this unique event that combines an unusual fundraising initiative and one of Kenya’s sporting passions – running.

It’s important to note that 100% of the profits go into wildlife conservancy and community development, thus creating a ripple effect to the protection of wildlife and the ecosystem, as well as creating a model for sustainable tourism development.

Some of the projects that have benefited from the marathon’s fundraising initiative include the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the Northern Rangelands Trust, the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, Mt. Kenya Trust, the Kenya Wide Projects, which has the Lamu and Watamu Turtle Trusts, Kaiyaki Guide School, Maasailand Preservation Trust, Kora National Park, Kibodo Trust and the Bongo Wildlife Clubs, all under its banner, amongst others.

When tourism meets sports, the end result is amazing. The stunning scenery, the fun and entertainment, the networking and the adventure all combine to make running wild for the wild a tusk worth running for. And that’s what makes Safaricom Lewa Marathon a great sporting event in Kenya.

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