TANZANIA National Parks Authority (TANAPA) has promised to turn the Serengeti Safari Marathon into Africa's biggest event, which attracts participants from all corners of the world.
TANAPA Conservation Commissioner Dr. Allan Kijazi said this during the 3rd edition of Serengeti Safari Marathon held within Serengeti National Park at Ndabaka gate on Saturday.
"There are good signs that Serengeti Safari Marathon event has continued to become famous and I believe it will be one of the biggest marathons in Africa just like how Serengeti is the best park in Africa," he said.
Dr. Kijazi is also the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
He said TANAPA will continue working with all stakeholders to ensure that SENAPA, recently declared the best Park in Africa for two consecutive years, remains intact forever.
Former President Jakaya Kikwete officiated at the event which attracted hundreds of runners, including the German Ambassador to Tanzania Ms. Regine Hess, and Tanzanians from different parts of the country.
Mr. Kikwete hailed the introduction of the Serengeti Safari Marathon and urged organisers to come up with plans that will make it a bigger event in the world.
"This is a new tourism product in Serengeti; make it to be known worldwide," he said.
He said he loves conservation and is a good conservation stakeholder.
"I have been spending my holidays in our national parks very often," he explained.
Conservation lovers who work with the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) in Serengeti and Arusha offices were among the runners in this year's event. With its headquarters in Germany, FZS is an international organisation working closely with TANAPA to support and implement various activities that help to protect and conserve the Serengeti ecology through TANAPA.
"The Serengeti Safari Marathon helps to promote sustainable conservation for the great Serengeti ecosystem," said Mr. Masegeri Rurai, FZS project manager at Serengeti.
"Indeed, we are excited that the participants are many especially the youth," SENAPA Chief Park Warden Mr. Masana Mwishwa said.
Mara Regional Commissioner Mr. Adam Malima described the Serengeti Safari Marathon as an exciting moment which happens once per year.
"The Serengeti Safari Marathon has become an important programme of tourism in our regions of Mara and Simiyu," he said.