4 reasons why the Kakamega Forest Marathon is a must-attend event in Kenya

November 21, 2022

It may or may not be the best marathon in Kenya, but it definitely is the fastest-growing and most well-organized marathon in the country. Moreover, it is a marathon that is not just preserving plants and wildlife but the health, education and social well-being of the communities living around the forest. 

The Kakamega Marathon happens this Saturday, the 26th, in the Western part of Kenya, in Kakamega County.

Runners will be able to watch different plants and animals, including bush pigs, giant forest hedgehogs, colobus monkeys, Debrazzar monkeys and pottos. Some birds to be seen here include the Blue Headed Bee Eater, Black Billed Turaco, Turner’s Eremomela and Grey Parrots. There are also some exciting butterflies, endemic plants, and insects that are rarely found elsewhere.

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Brigid Kosgei after winning a past event at the Kakamega Marathon. Photo by Kakamega Forest[/caption]

The marathon attracts some of the world’s largest elite fields in their elite-category events, given its proximity to the most significant long distance training communities like Iten, Kapsabet, Kaptagat and Eldoret.

The world record holder for the women's marathon, Brigid Kosgei, is one of the past winners at this event.


Here are some main reasons why the marathon was established and keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Engage forest communities in sustainable forest activities

Through the Kakamega Heritage Foundation, the marathon engages in various educational and training activities that help the communities around the forest know the importance of preserving the forest and how to do it well.

The Foundation also helps the communities equip some of the schools and hospitals in the area and helps set up some free occasional medical camps.

Raise awareness of the critical challenges facing the Kakamega Forest

The marathon is an occasion to help pass the message to a larger audience on the need to preserve the forests.

Celebrate the beauty and diversity of Kakamega Forest

The Marathon course goes through the heart of Kakamega Forest, considered the easternmost outlier of the Guinea-Congolian forest that spreads across Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Raise funds to support the programs of the Kakamega Forest Heritage Foundation.

Proceeds from the marathon will go out to help in the various activities the Foundation is engaged in, planting more trees and supporting health and education in the communities around the forest.

Other events of the Weekend

Besides the main event, the marathon, there is also the half marathon elites’ race and a 15km fun run.

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Bullfighting. Photo from event's social media[/caption]

Other events on Friday 25th, ahead of the big day, will include a 70km and a 40km bike race. The name “boda-boda” originated in this part of the country. It was a name given to the athletic cyclists who used to carry people across territories on their bikes, although these days, the term has been taken away by motorcyclists. It is an area teeming with a lot of potential talent in cycling.

There will also be the bullfighting event typical of the communities in the area, an incredible show of might as the strongest of bulls take the stage from 9 am of the day before the marathon. There will also be some exciting dancing competitions.

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