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

Thursday, 13 October 2011

People are so amazing

Last weekend I snuck back in to Basingstoke for a Parkrun. I 've only managed about 14 over the last 18 months, while Peter (a friend I persuaded to join in after a couple of ParkRuns) is up to 49... he's one off that special red t-shirt. He also  persuaded all his family to join in - so he ran with his wife and two children (2 of them on their first ParkRun) - and they all managed it - well done all.

The previous weekend I was supposed to be running in the Basingstoke Half marathon, but due to illness I had to pull out - instead I cycled to the 2/3 mark (just after some evil hills) and gave out jelly babies and cheered the runners on. I know from my runs over the last year how important it is to be cheered on, as it always brightens you up even when you are feeling groggy and everything hurts with miles still to go. 

It reminded me that while reading through twitter over the last couple of weeks how amazing and motivating people are in their achievements, I though I would list a few of them to let you know the things they are up to (trust me there are so many more I could mention).

So, in no particular order:

Simon Buckden (http://www.raceto100.co.uk/) - who completed his 32rd marathon last Sunday in Liverpool. I know that race was tough for him, and is now getting ready for the Amsterdam marathon on Sunday. He served in the army for 12 years, and unfortunately suffered from PTSD, but has turned his misfortune around to raise awareness of this condition as well as the work of  the charity Help for Heroes.

Rob Savavva (http://www.justgiving.com/RobertSavva) - another runner who has set a challenge of multiple marathons (I was absolutely badgered by just doing one in April). His challenge is 1 a month for a year, and like Simon has personal reasons to undertake this task. He is running to raise funds for his Autistic son's special school Newick House in West Sussex. 

Finally, Paul Mather (http://www.runclimb4autism.com) who is planning to run 1000 miles in 2011 and also climbed Stok Kangri earlier in the year. Along with Simon he was running the Liverpool Marathon on Sunday - in gorilla suit!!! (I so know you pain). He also is running for personal reasons to support the National Autistic Society as his nephew has autism. 

I read their stories and am totally amazed by their effort and achievements. But, also back at home the Basingstoke runners who ran the half marathon including Peter whose activities and achievements are just as motivating.

All you guys (and girls) keep this gorilla running - keep it up.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

I am running like a one-year old!!!

Amazing to think that one year ago today I started this blog (check out the first posting here: http://marathongorilla.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-1-saga-begins.html) - since then it's been read over  as well as my twitter persona @MarathonGorilla - and he's still tweeting away.


And to celebrate last week I took part in the Great Gorilla Run 2011. Which in many ways is what started me off getting back into fitness and then running the 26 warm furry miles in April.

I was back in London ... and back in the suit ... but this time not alone ... there was the whole whoop of us (Apparently the term whoop came from the Not The Nine O'Clock News sketch with "Gerald the Gorilla") and it was so much fun!!!

All these people shared the same desire to have fun and help preserve a species, and given the heat of about 22-23 degrees on the day it certainly wasn't chilly in those suits, they showed how much they really had committed to this cause.

A sneaky photo with Bill Oddie who started the race.
Back in the suit ... and the tutu (hmmm!)
Did I go for an Epic time? no not really, I was having too much fun chatting to runners and spectators alike (not that I have any reputation for chatting ... cough ... cough).

For those who have never seen the Great Gorilla Run check out the album my friend Adrian has uploaded to flikr (he had so much fun trying to photograph every gorilla he saw...)
I was even 'Knighted' by Bill Oddie at the end of race.
So, should  I stop now ?

Actually, "No!", I have enjoyed doing all the races over the last year (and most of the training). I have met so many interesting people and heard their amazing stories of who/why they run; many of these stories are so personal to their daily lives it helps you put things in perspective. For example in the Maidenhead Half-Marathon recently I met Alan Rowe OBE, who let me carry 'The Baton' for part of the race, he explained how it had travelled the globe, and recently went to the North Pole as show in 'Harry's Arctic Heroes'.

Following the pattern of most London Marathon runners, one week after the race you re-apply for the next year - and unfortunately I did not get in. I don't want to take a charity place for next year as I'd prefer my overly generous friends to get 'Charity Fatigue' - you guys helped so much this year it was amazing.

However, in the 'You didn't get through' pack there is a flyer for the Edinburgh Marathon in May, and I signed up straight away. Will it be suited? Not sure yet - I may need to negotiate with my wife Helen quite extensively. Besides, there are plans for some more 'Gorilla Outings' in the future, but quoting Dr. Who 'Spoilers!'

For everyone who did get through to VLM 2012 - Good Luck!!! I will be there to cheer you on. If you have never done it before - you will be blown away by the spectacle of the day - and remember to keep training and enjoy the run.

Now .. for that cake ...