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Victoria Falls marathon offers hope to community

April 9, 2009 in Events: (

Zimbabwe’s answer to ecotourism is an international marathon at Victoria Falls on August 23. Promoter John Addison of Wild Frontiers said, “Where else in the world do you have elephants at the water points, game on the race route, and the post-race party on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River?”

The unusual race crosses the Victoria Falls bridge and into neighboring Zambia and runs relatively flatly through a National Park and World Heritage Site. Themed “Come and Run in a New Zimbabwe," in past years proceeds have gone to AIDS orphans in the area, and this year, schools in the Victoria Falls township of Chinotimba are set to benefit.

Previous marathons were operated in 2006 and 2007 by a team of experienced logistics personnel and to International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards. In 2008, the event did not take place, but this year, partners Wild Frontiers, Wild Horizons, and Safari Par Excellence supported by the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe decided that “the show must go on" and pledged to show commitment to the New Zimbabwe and it's people by offering a full marathon, a half marathon (21.1 km), and a five kilometer fun run.

The event, which offers spectacular scenery to boot, will be filmed and televised Africa wide and in the USA, and organizers are still seeking sponsors and planning for 1,000 participants. “We anticipate this race to grow into a large “must do" event in Africa, maybe even rivaling some of the bigger South African events such as Two Oceans, etc., but a lot better and more fun!” said Addision.

Packages are available as the airlines and hotel groups serving the area are all committed to this event, he said. Contact . The Victoria Falls area offers many adventure activities including white water rafting, canoeing, game viewing, elephant back safaris, bungi jumping, plus safaris to neighboring Botswana and Zambia.

Another project benefitting the community here was created by Shearwater and Rani Resorts along with safari guides from the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve. Called Wisdom 4 Wildlife Trust, pupils aged around 13 years are given educational programs about wildlife and plants, allowing the youngsters to understand the importance of wildlife to the economy and the community.

The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge contributes to the environment, conservation, and wildlife by coordinating the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit, established to control poaching and the destruction of indigenous trees within the Victoria Falls area.

The hotel also runs a training program, which ensures that all staff are educated thoroughly about the environment and wildlife in the region, allowing them to offer fauna and flora knowledge to guests and to contribute to environmental conservation and protection.

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