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Running with the Maasai

Date: 
04/06/2012 - 18:29

sun.jpg The Amazing Maasai Ultra Marathon is a unique challenge: Compete with Maasai athletes in the remote plains of Kenya, the homeland of endurance running!

Participants have the chance to tackle 21km, 42km, or the ultra 75km on 29 September 2012. Early bird race week packages on www.amazingmaasaiultra.org until 31 May.

Running for a good cause: Last year, the event raised 25,000 USD to support Maasai girls’ education – enough to sponsor 20 girls through high-school.

Nairobi - Adventure, exploration, and a unique challenge: After the success of the inaugural Amazing Maasai Ultra Marathon in 2011, preparations for the second edition are well on the way. From 25 September to 1 October, runners from countries across Europe, Asia and the US will gather in the foothills of Mt. Kenya, not only for a breath-taking race, but also to enjoy a six-night stay in the African bush, including game drives, walking safaris and Maasai village tours & performances. “The run takes place in a very remote area in Maasai country, far off the tourist trails”, explain race directors Sarah Edson and Molly Fitzpatrick. Vast African vistas, wild animals, Maasai culture – it is a week of true exploration. “What makes the race so unique is the participation of the local runners, who last year competed to win highly-coveted live cow. Many of the girls who we are sponsoring through school will run the half marathon, and the Maasai runners will compete in the longer distances”, says Edson.

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Patrolled by wildlife scouts

The race in the Laikipia area is challenging. Runners need to adjust to the altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level. The course follows unsealed roads and paths in the bush terrain, with long hills, flat bush lands, and rolling countryside. Edson: “Since there is wildlife in the area, the course will be patrolled by highly-experienced scouts from Kenya Wildlife Services, who track the animals and their movements and ensure the complete safety of our runners.” Besides the 75km ultra marathon and the 42km marathon distance, runners can also sign-up for a 21km half marathon. For expats in Kenya and tourists that happen to be in Africa, it is also possible to join for the race without booking the whole race week. Adventure-seeking runners can make use of the reduced early-bird package prices until 31 May on www.amazingmaasaiultra.org.

High school scholarships for Maasai girls

All proceeds of the event are used to fund scholarships for local Maasai girls through the Amazing Maasai Girls Project, a non-profit organization registered in the USA and founded by the event organizers. “Last year, we were able to raise 25,000 USD and are now financing 4-year high school scholarships for 20 bright girls who would not be able to afford school otherwise. We are aiming to raise even more this year, to give more girls a secondary education and empower them to find employment and independence as adults”, outlines Molly Fitzpatrick.

For more information, please visit www.amazingmaasaiultra.org.

Top Photo: Towards the rising sun, the Amazing Maasai Ultra offers breathtaking African vistas.
Bottom Photo: Running is joy: 75 km and still smiling
Photos by Paul Ark, amazingmaasaiultra.org