Online registration for the 19th Safaricom Lewa Marathon -- that will be held on June 30 -- opens from 8am today with the organisers limiting entries to 1,400 people.
Safaricom director for strategy and innovation, Joe Ogutu, disclosed that last year, the entries were full within four hours of opening and advised those hoping to compete to take advantage of the earliest opportunity possible.
Speaking on Wednesday at Safaricom's Michael Joseph Centre where he unveiled a Sh14.8 million sponsorship for this year's event, Ogutu revealed that over Sh40 million was raise last year bringing to a total of Sh675 million raised since 2000.
Registration will only be done online at www.safaricommarathon.co.ke/register at Sh15,000 per person.
"We look back with pride to the transformation power this noble initiative has had since inception what with the number of Rhinos having increased from 14 to 135," said Ogutu.
"Over 40,000 people have benefited from the eight clinics were have managed to build and equip annually besides the 10 projects for communities across the country." Ogutu explained that Sh80 million has been allocated to 20 conservation projects across Marsabit, Maasai Mara and the Coast with Sh44.7 million going towards healthcare and Sh74.3 million being invested in education, reaching out to over 10,000 school going children since 2000.
"I am certain our conservation efforts will not be in vain since future generations will thank this noble initiative," said Ogutu.
"Conservation of the environment is no longer a choice and that is why we regard this as part of our commitment to service."
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy chief executive officer Mike Watson noted that they have not lost any Rhino to poaching for the last six years besides safety for people and wildlife being enhanced.
"Elephants can also migrate easily," said Watson.
This year's theme is "When we run together, we can protect our future" with key focus on raising funds once again for wildlife protection and supporting community projects around Lewa Conservancy.
The 2014 Casablanca Marathon winner Philemon Mbaaru proved the master of the treacherous terrains when he completed his fifth Safaricom Lewa marathon title last year.
The 36-year-old Mbaaru outdid his biggest challenger in the race, Daniel Mbogo, to stop the timer at two hours, 22 minutes and 18 seconds, pocketing the Sh150,000 prize money and a mobile phone.
Mbogo settled for second place in 2:22:53 while John Mureithi completed the podium in 2:25:42.
The women's race went to Iten-based Margaret Pepesi, who was competing at Lewa for the first time and clocked 2:38:48 to win ahead of Naomi Njeri Nduta who crossed the line in 2:49:29.
Defending champion Fridah Lodepa, who was gunning for her fifth title, finished a disappointing third in 2:54:53.
As has been the case, the Safaricom Marathon will have three race categories: the five-kilometre Children's Fun Run, the half marathon (21km) for individuals, teams and corporates and the full marathon (42mm) for individual runners.