Kenya Airways has unveiled a KSh58 million sponsorship package for the 2013 Kenya Airways Maasai Mara Marathon.

The airline, the country’s national carrier, will be sponsoring this year’s marathon, slated for 5 October, 2013. The marathon, which is a joint initiative with the Lemek Conservancy Council, will also commemorate Kenya’s 50th anniversary this year.

Announcing the sponsorship, Kenya Airways’ Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director, Titus Naikuni, said that this year’s marathon was a continuation of the firm’s support to the marathon over the last five years that has translated into initiation of high impact projects.

“This 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,” Dr. Naikuni added.

The top five winners of this year’s Maasai Mara Marathon will be sponsored by Kenya Airways to participate in the London marathon 2014.

Maasai Mara Marathon includes a 21-kilometre half marathon race for individual runners and a five-kilometre fun run for individual runners or corporate teams. The venue of the event is about 150 kilometres south east of Nairobi.

Organized by the Masai Mara Marathon Limited, and Kenya Airways, the funds raised in the charitable event will go towards addressing gaps in education facilities, access to medical infrastructure, improvement of sanitation utilities, anti-poaching projects and provision of clean drinking water to its residents.

Proceeds from last year’s marathon went towards a dining hall and dormitory construction project at the Namunyak Girls Secondary school in Lemek, which is aimed at enhancing the educational experience for Lemek Girls who usually drop out of school due to long distance travel and the pastoralist way of life.

The Maasai Mara Marathon has grown significantly over the years. The inaugural edition, held in November 2009, had a total of 352 participants registering, out of which 214 took part in the five-kilometre race while 138 participated in the 21-kilometre event.

Last year, the marathon attracted a total of 835 participants with 307 of them taking place in the five kilometers race and 528 runners in the 5km race.

The Kenya Airways Maasai Mara Marathon has in the past been used by runners to hone their skills, with many of them proceeding to successful International athletic careers.

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