Lewa Marathon, Kenya
The Safaricom Marathon - June
The Lewa Marathon in Kenya, organised each year by the UK charity Tusk Trust, is the only marathon in the world where runners actually run side by side with wildlife. The gruelling half-and full marathon is held in the Lewa Game Conservancy, a game reserve at 5,500 feet above sea level, and full of elephants, rhino, giraffe and gazelles, to raise money for wildlife conservation, community development, health and education projects across Kenya.
Running on rough terrain and under harsh climatic conditions, the Lewa Marathon has gained a reputation as one of the ten toughest marathon events in the world. It draws distance runners and athletic fans from all over the world, with big groups of runners coming from the United States and United Kingdom, as well as runners from Australia, India, Europe and Canada. Over 650 runners take part in the full and half-marathon with an additional 100 children competing in the 5km fun run. The marathon is run on dirt roads, over two 21km loops (one for the half-marathon, two for those running the full marathon).
The Lewa Marathon started in 2000 with the aim of raising funds for conservation and community projects around Samburu, Isiolo, Laikipia and Meru areas. You'll be relieved to know that since the marathon started, no runner has reported an attack from the wildlife!