27 September 2009

The London Great Gorilla Run!

750 gorillas, 7 km, 1 city, no regrets - What do you get? A spectacular sight!

£60k have been raised in 2009 and more than £1m ever since its inception seven years ago. - And one won't complain about a decline in popularity anytime soon. People from all walks of life and professions come together in the City on one Sunday morning and don their Gorilla Suits for some serious fun! Unsuspecting passers-by and tourists can't help but laugh themselves at being run over by highly individualised gorillas running across London Bridge and Tower Bridge and along the riverbank.

For years I have wanted to take part in this particularly fun event in London, if not as runner (minimum pledge of £400 + £75 registration fee but you of course get to keep your costume!), then as an enthusiastic onlooker!

I took position with my camera phone on London Bridge with other "Sunday photographers" or friends of runners. What a great way to be back in the city!

I had just arrived back from KL a few days before and it was great to S_T_R_E_T_C_H_ my legs by an extensive walk along the Southbank, across the Thames and through the City and admire the beauty of London and reclaim the freedom as a pedestrian. I had a Mediterranean brunch in Spitalfields with a great view of an amazing open air gig by Arun Ghosh whose name I've only ever registered peripherally before that day. Great Jazz. He sold out on all the CDs before I could even get there - and I rarely am compelled to buy a CD on the spot.

A little bit about what the Gorilla Run is all about from their About page:

The threats

Imagine that you're one of the poorest people on earth. Now imagine your only chance to survive is by mining, farming and hunting in the rainforest next to your home. It's a no-brainer right? Trouble is this land is also home to some of the most endangered species in the world, and every time you enter the forest, you are damaging the forest and the gorilla habitat. Oh, and you're not alone - you live in one of the most densely populated areas in Africa.

How we help

The Gorilla Organization works with African NGOs (nice good organisations) to help local populations get everything they need outside the forest.

How helping local people helps gorillas

Everything the gorillas need is right there in the forest. So we work with local communities to make sure that the forest stays just as it is.

Take Isabelle for example - she lives in Rwanda right on the border of a National Park. Money raised by Great Gorilla runners means that we were able to show her how to grow giant crops to feed her family so she no longer has to collect food from the gorillas forest.

And Alphonsine - we showed her how to make her own firewood saving stove that uses 80% less wood than her old stove, so more trees stay in the forest for the gorillas, and life is a little less difficult for Alphonsine too.

Then there are the school children from Gitaraga Primary school with their new water cistern. They used to spend the first half of their day collecting water from the gorillas' forest, but now they just turn on the tap and have more time for learning.

The Gorilla Organization relies on the sponsorship and support from people like you. So be one of the extraordinary people that helps us save an incredible species in amazing ways all around the world, so that the world will always have great gorillas." (from the official Great Gorilla Run website)

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