On 27th June, two of our country specialists, Alice and Katie, ran 26.2 miles through Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy as part of the Tusk Safaricom Marathon. They were also accompanied by Jo, another of our specialists, who filmed the event and helped with fundraising.
After months of training, Katie and Alice took on what is regarded as one of the toughest marathons in the world, with the aim of raising as much money as possible for our charity of 2015, the Tusk Trust.
Video: Watch Alice and Katie's journey from fundraising to crossing the finishing line.
Katie and Alice conquer the Lewa Marathon in Kenya for Tusk
Alice and Katie's journey from fundraising to crossing the finishing line.
The marathon backdrop: home to a vast assortment of plains game
Around 1,200 runners took part in the marathon from 20 different countries around the world. The event is run through some of East Africa's most beautiful scenery, with Mount Kenya to the south and there are breathtaking views north toward Samburu and Mount Ololokwe. The heavily protected 65,000-acre Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is home to over 100 rhino, herds of elephant and an array of plains game including zebra, giraffe and buffalo. Alice was lucky enough to see zebra while other runners claimed to have seen lions on the course.
Seeing Tusk's work in Kenya
The first school we saw was amazing. The headmaster was clearly committed to making sure that the kids in his community were given the best chance possible to succeed and he was really proud of what they had achieved.
Alice, Katie and Jo held fundraising events — from cake sales to cycling in onesies — leading up to the marathon, with the aim of raising a total of £2,000. To see where the money will be spent, the girls visited projects run by Tusk while in Kenya.
They visited a rhino sanctuary, a couple of local schools and a water project, which proved a fascinating insight into the work that Tusk does. The water project is to receive most of the funds raised from the marathon. The main aim is to get running water to some of the communities down river from the water works, to allow irrigation so they can grow their own food.
Why we chose Tusk
The school children we met explained what they understood about what Tusk was providing for their community. They understood why it was in their benefit to conserve the wildlife around them.
Last year, Tusk founder Charlie Mayhew MBE, gave us a truly inspirational talk about Tusk's work. Everyone was very moved, and Tusk became a natural choice for our 2015 Charity of the Year.
Since its inception in 1990, Tusk has built a reputation for identifying and supporting an impressive range of conservation and sustainable community development initiatives right across Africa.
Tusk, whose Patron is HRH The Duke of Cambridge, celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2015. Its funding continues to be focused on the protection of endangered species and habitats, building schools, setting up water projects and improving livelihoods through the creation of nature-based enterprise.
Grand fundraising total
Katie completed the marathon in five hours and Alice completed it in five hours twenty. The girls have raised £3,500 to date, an outstanding achievement. To find out more or to make a donation visit their fundraising page. Our total fundraising efforts for Tusk this year have raised £29,500 to date.
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