The 2017 Safaricom Lewa Marathon at northern Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which is included in the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site, kicked off Saturday, with a donation of $100,000 from Huawei Technologies (Kenya) Co., Ltd.
He Shi, chief executive officer of the Chinese company, told Xinhua that the company started supporting the event about 10 years ago, noting it raised funds to support wildlife conservation, including the protection of white rhinoceros, and development programs to help local communities with drinking water.
In addition to the donation, 37 managerial officers and employees, including He, took part in the annual event, which was divided into half marathon and marathon. Two of them made it to the finish line of the marathon.
According to Wanjiku Kinuthia, a communication officer of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which organized the event with Tusk Trust, a total of 1,400 runners from about 40 countries and regions registered for the event this year, a maximum number it could accommodate in this wildlife conservancy.
The winner for men's marathon was Philemon Baaru, in 2 hours 22 minutes and 18 seconds, while the first prize for women's marathon went to Margaret Lepakana, with 2 hours 38 minutes and 48 seconds. They are both Kenyans.
The event, at an average altitude of 1,700 kilometers, is regarded one of the toughest races in the world. This year's event also attracted about 5,000 spectators.
The first Lewa marathon was held in 2000, attracting 200 participants. Since its inception, funds amounting to 6.1 million US dollars had been raised, used mainly to support wildlife conservation and development initiatives for schools, water project and health care in the east African country.