A few months ago we did a story on the opening of Karura Forest to the public as the latest tourist attraction in Nairobi. Since then, a lot of interest has been shown towards the forest including using it as a venue for staging running events.

One such event was the inaugural G4S Cross Country championship organised by G4S Kenya, a private security firm, in collaboration with Friends of Karura Forest (FKF). Over 600 people took part in the run which had 3 race categories – a 5, 9 and 16 KM race.

The 16 KM run dubbed the ‘Mau Mau Trails’, started at a famous cave in the forest used one time as a hideout for the Mau Mau freedom fighters during the war of independence. The 9 KM event, christened ‘Trail of Fire’, saw participants go through a hilly and twisty course. The 5 KM race was designed for corporate participants.

Regarded as the most enchanting race in the world, the championship seeks to be both a fun family event as well as a way to raise awareness and financial support for the conservation efforts of Karura Forest.

Joel Melly and Pauline Waruguru emerged winners in the men’s and women’s 16 KM races clocking times of 47:60 and 59:49 minutes respectively. The men’s 9 KM race was won by Wilson Mwangi in a time of 29 minutes and 59 seconds. Japan-based Lucy Kabuu who won the 2006 Commonwealth 10,000 race finished in a time of 32:55 to win the women’s edition of the race.

The 5 KM men’s race was won by Peter Mwangi and Hellen Wanjiku took the women’s title. Winners of the 16 KM race received a cash reward of KES 50,000.00 each while the 9 KM victors each bagged KES 25,000.00.

More than 15 corporate teams participated among them, Access Kenya, Tribe Hotel, Lucozade, EABL, Magnate Ventures, Fairview Hotel, Mathare Youth Association and Kenya Shell. The British High Commission entered a team and contributed KES 250,000.00 towards Karura’s conservation efforts.

AON Minet also contributed KES 100,000.00 and entered a team of 10 participants. G4S Kenya provided professional risk management services worth KES 3.4 million.