Sport – running wild

The Masai Mara Marathon is an integral part of Kenya Airway’s CSR initiative

The Masai Mara doesn’t need much introduction. It’s famed all around the planet, thanks to the annual wildebeest migration – the eighth wonder of the world. Imagine, then, running through its breathtaking landscapes and alongside its spectacular wildlife.

The Kenya Airways Masai Mara Marathon is now a key calendar event, not only for sports enthusiasts but also for game lovers. This year’s event, sponsored by KQ to the tune of Ksh58 million, will take place on 5 October, and more than 600 runners are expected to take part over either a 21km or 5km course.

The Marathon started in 2009, as part of Kenya Airways’ long-term vision to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa.

The charity event is designed to raise funds for the Lemek Conservancy Community to address shortages in education facilities, enable access to medical aid, improve sanitation facilities and provide clean drinking water to residents of the Mara, along with donations to anti-poaching projects.

It has also helped aspiring athletes hone their skills, many of whom have gone on to have successful international careers. This year, in partnership with the Born Free Foundation, Kenya Airways will sponsor five winners of the race so that they can compete in the London Marathon 2014.

Announcing this year’s sponsorship, Kenya Airways CEO and Group Managing Director Dr Titus Naikuni said: “[The marathon] is in line with our aim of contributing towards sustainable development in the country by highlighting sports tourism and other attractions. It is also a means of giving back to the community by raising funds for projects in the community.”

Supporting education
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is at the heart of the Masai Mara Marathon. This year proceeds from the event will go towards building a dispensary for the Lemek community. Last year money was raised for the construction of a dining hall and dormitory at Namunyak Girls Secondary School as well as the building of a dining hall and a biogas project at Lemek Girls Secondary School. Proceeds from the 2011 Marathon assisted with the construction of dormitories at Lemek Girls Secondary School and, in 2010, an administration block was put up at Aitong Primary School in the Mara.