Gorilla Organization


The Gorilla Organization, the international charity led by experienced African conservationists dedicated to saving the world’s last remaining gorillas from extinction. Our award-winning community-based approach to conservation promotes sustainable livelihoods, nurtures young conservationists of the future and empowers local people to tackle the main threats to the gorillas’ survival.

UK Reg Charity 1117131

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Day 178 - Forget the gorilla suit get me a pirate suit

Firstly, the gorilla movie 'mISSING pIECES' is finally finished - and uploaded onto the web. Many months of fiddling with settings and fighting Shockwave flash to generate a custom transition, we finally finished it off. We have submitted it for 'Red Carpet Screenings International Short Film Festival' on April 16 ... so fingers crossed.

Back to the running, today was the 'Breakfast Run' a 16 mile event in Kingston.  This comprised of two laps of running to Hampton Court Palace and back. It also was my last 'Long Run' before the marathon - and was to be run in full suit. The event was a much quieter affair than the Reading Half, and only a few people came to the streets to cheer us on; I didn't realise how much the cheering last week boosted the running - I know London will be a completely level - so am really looking forward to that part.

Well, the first lap went well at about 1:20 - which was going to plan well, then at about 12 miles my left leg decided to misbehave slightly, and by mile 13 running was not an option - but this was going to stop me ... so I ended up walking the last 3 miles, but did it in the end.

I chatted to various people as they overtook the gorilla, and so their support was great.

Finally, when I made it in I had my first Sports Massage .... both ouch and relief at the same time, which seems to have fixed bits in my leg already.

Right then ... bring on the tapering ....

Monday, 21 March 2011

Day 172 - Mr. Lister ... fetch me spare head two

Reading marathon plus one ...

Another late blog entry ... I'm seeing a pattern here, I think it's because as the training is increasing, and the distance longer, the more tired I get - ho hum...

Anyway, back to the blog ...

So, yesterday there were two big reasons:

  • One month since my first half marathon
  • My first run in my new 'custom' gorilla head
The previous night our house was like 'arts and crafts' as we stitched together 'spare head two' - a more breathable gorilla head to run in - time to see how it works out ...

We got to Reading quite early, and caught up with a few colleagues from work beforehand (they did really well in the race - well done all), and then transform into 'GorillaMan'.

GorillaMan - one of the lesser known supers...
I realize it's important to make sure i'm fueled up before a run, luckily they had a drink my size ...
Gorilla-size Lucozade
The race really was really great - an amazing experience for so many reasons, the people of Reading were so enthusiastic calling out 'Come on Gorilla Man' or 'Monkey Man'along the whole race (How come small kids know I'm a gorilla, but the adults think I'm a monkey?). There were live bands playing in peoples gardens, steel bands at the half way point, pub's giving out free beer (honest).
Nearly there ...
The mask worked well, and kept the heat off pretty well, but was still toasty. I was really glad that I had the CamelBack as the 'on-demand' water made all the difference (as well as many water stops) - and a small army of Jelly Babies.

Goodie bag ... and time to head home 
Once month until London ... eeek!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Day 164 - Barking dogs (Part 2 of 2)

OK, so thats the excuse for Friday done in the previous post ... so why didn't I post yesterday either? well ...


This was a very very big day, as Festival Place the local shopping centre was allowing me to have an awareness day for the Gorilla Organization (a.k.a. the charity I'm running the London Marathon for).

This meant getting everything set-up for 8:30am, and for my wife and I to man the stall until 5pm - so we knew it was going to be a long day. Also, as it was not a charity spot we couldn't collect on their behalf at this spot - we could however point people in the direction of the 'Lush' store in Basingstoke (just around the corner) who were holding a 'Charity Pot Party'  for the gorillas on the same day.

To keep the spectacle up for the day I was wearing a gorilla suit for the day (about 10 hours in total) which worked really well as a technique for getting peoples attention - we could then show them details on the display we put together in the morning.

Many leaflets ... posters and a gorilla
There was a reasonable amount of interest in the day from the public, and many many smiling faces as a gorilla waved at them as they walked past.

I did make one mistake - as my legs were a bit stiff from the previous days run, and standing around all that time wasn't helping them much - so I went for a brief jog around the centre to stretch the legs (still as a gorilla), however we didn't realise that even though Helen was manning the stall - I should have been there too as I was wearing a distinctive  (and furry) outfit.  The security staff though were really great, and advised me to head back to the stand - which I did, and all was well.

One of my favourite moments in the day was a small child (dressed as Buzz Light Year) who had bought a 'Charity Pot' tester from Lush for the gorillas, but insisted to his parents that it was for the gorilla and he must make sure I had it.

Many friends popped round during the day, which was great as it gave an opportunity to explain better why I was getting ready for 26 miles of fur and tarmac.

By the end of the day we headed back to Lush, and we discovered that all 72 testers, and 11 pots  of 'Charity Pot' had already been sold that day - and there was still about an hour to go. This meant the event had raised about £212 for the gorillas - which was absolutely fantastic.

I'll catch up with them tomorrow to find out the final total was and  to collect a small blue gorilla who kept guard in the shop during the day.

Thanks everyone in Festival Place and Lush for all the help yesterday - it was really well appreciated.

My feet ache ...

Day 164 - Barking dogs (Part 1 of 2)

It been a busy couple of days, and so the first time in 46 posts I didn't update them on the day.. so here's the reasons (or excuses).


I decided to go for a very long run ... Basingstoke to Andover, which worked out at just over 31km (18.5 miles). The reason was, as i'm running the Reading Half Marathon next week-end, and the Breakfast Run the week-end after, I seemed to be running out of March to do a really long run. I even took the day off work to do it - that's how important it seemed to me.

As usual it was to catch up with a friend for coffee as an excuse to run there (I really need to get out more), so about 10:30 I set off armed with a camelback full of water, and a full change of clothes for when I get there (mistake no. 1).

The route I chose is the B3400 which goes between the two towns with no fuss - less chance for me to get lost if I just stay on the same road ... however I did forget how winding and hilly the road was especially where honking great trucks are involved (mistake no. 2).

A few miles in I felt a bit peckish - checked the backpack for Jelly Babies ... crisis I'd forgotten them (mistake no. 3), leaving me to put off any of the gels until really really necessary (as i'd managed to remember them - doh!). I really do prefer the sweeties to the gels as they:

  1. taste nicer
  2. don't go gooie if you only have some of them (gels make a mess)
  3. cheer you up when you see them

However, it did give me an incentive to run to the next town - thankfully they had some so all's right with the world (phew).

By now i'm too making good progress ... but the lack of pavements on the road are noticable, and even as a 'B' road it was very busy. Most of the drivers were good, but a few seemed to play chicken with me to see if I could merge into the wall so they didn't have to steer past - do I look like a T-1000?

Well over halfway I made it to Whitchurch, around here I was feeling a bit warm, and the backpack was starting to become noticeably heavier ... and when I saw the roadsign telling me how far I had to go  ... it didn't help much either ...

Only 7 miles to go ... (ONLY!!!)
Yet more hills, and oncoming traffic and by the time I reached Andover I was not running fast at all (or at all) - and made my way slowly into the town centre to meet my friend (Thanks so much for waiting Vivien :)  ).

Due to other commitments I had to be back home early that night, so after a quick change and a jacket potato    it was time to head back. This time by train, this is were I learnt my final lesson for the day ...  Never get the train back if it follows the route you just run ... as the towns you spent ages running between - just fly by as stations ... (mistake no. 4)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Day 157 - It's cold up north

Having escaped my monkey suit for the week it's time to catch up with some of my family in Scotland. Getting up here was fun as we tried out the 'Zombe bus' that goes from Victoria to Edinburgh overnight - they then wake you at 3am to go to the toilets at service stations on the M1 (much like being woken in hospital to be given a sleeping tablet). Once we arrived at Edinburgh, we then found out most of the remaining journey will be covered by a replacement bus service - woop! more buses....

Surprisingly, most of yesterday was spent sleeping - this does not bode well for work tomorrow when I get back first thing in the morning.

With much chilling behind me, I decided to go for a long run today (before most of the house was awake) - to add to it I had no real idea of where I can go round here, but after a bit of google maps and some local knowledge I had a basic idea of a 'lap' of the area.

Armed with a Camelback,an mp3 player (my phone as all the others I have killed) and a full packet of Jelly Babies off I went...

The first couple of miles were not pleasant, maybe a combination of disrupted sleep over the last couple of weeks (having been short listed for redundancy screws with the head) or concerns over my Mum's health (Diabetes, heart problems and a blood vessel that blew in her brain 12 months back) or maybe checking that my foot has recovered over the last week...  whatever was going on in my head it started to ease off after a few miles (and a couple of Jelly Babies) and I could then concentrate on running alone.

Most of the running today was on the road as there aren't too many pavements up here, but 99.5% of the drivers were really good at giving me plenty of space on the road, The 0.5% tried to overtake into me to cut a corner (doh!!!)

Today I managed a personal best in distance of 25 Km, which is about 15.5 miles in old money. The timing was not best (probably being careful) but the stamina was there which was fantastic :) A bit more work to do over the next couple of weeks - but a great achievement regardless.

Next time I do something like this I must remember to pack gloves and a hat brrrrr as the wind is a bit nippy up here.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Day 155 - From Monkey Suit to Gorilla Suit

Today I decided to run around the office park at work again - this time in my gorilla costume. So, a 5.4 k run around Green Park (2 weeks until the Reading half-marathon), it only took about 31 minutes. It would have been quicker if I hadn't have stopped at a local cafe for ... guess what .... a banana. The girl in front of me in the queue tried to ignore the fact I was behind her, but she finally cracked when I only bought a banana.

At one point in the run I caught up with another runner who was obviously focussed on running, and when i said 'So, you didn't get the memo then?' as a way of breaking the ice he just went '... huh ...' - so I decided to overtake him and run on to the next bit. (That'll teach him).

Today is probably the last run in the original gorilla head - I have a new (smaller and lighter one) which i'll be trying out for the Reading Half - as it was a bit fruity in there today.

Finally, I must say the response from my work colleagues today was fantastic - lots of encouragement and sponsorship. 

Thanks so much everyone.