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

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Full Fur/Full On

So - plans have changed a tad over the last few months.

Originally, there were to by Marathons and cross-Scotland races, but they have been put on pause; as it appears that I soon to become a Father which has re-adjusted the priorities.

After what appears to be 'Scorched Earth' Nesting - the house is just about ready for the new addition; so now i'm planning where/what I run next.

After the shock news in April of the passing of @12pmClub at the end of the Reading Half - I was somewhat shocked - he was my age ... It could have been me ... what would his family do ... words cannot express how that feels. My friend @TheRambingDuck was a total legend and paid many a tribute to his passing (thats one awesome duck).

Over the next few months i'll be training for both Basingstoke and Reading Half(s) back in the fur, and i'll be fund raising for both @gorillas_organd the @TheBHF.

Online sponsorship form will be up soon - watch this space.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

From Satan to Santa ... what a year...

This time last year was HellRunner, the very cold muddy trail run at freezing temperatures. In fact I swear I have the mud ingrained in my soul after that race. With all the races I could do last year, I missed out on the SantaJog back in Basingstoke which is 5k in a santa suit - so in 2011 it's time to fix it.

Also, this week my car has been a bit sick so it's out with the bike for the commute to work; which is about 20k per day (with a train journey in the middle). I'm hoping that it'll be good training for the Coast-to-Coast next year (boy that's a lot of training), so actually getting back to running as kind of odd.

A 'Santarama' taken before the race.

The race was fun, and watching a couple of hundred Santas doing a warm-up must be a youtube classic.

I came in about 10th, with a new personal best of about 24mins for a 5k in costume; but I haven't been running for a while, and today I really felt it in my knees, even though the legs seemed strong - they had lost some of their bounce.

So, no more excuses, I need to get some more running miles in.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

2012 ... The cunning plans commence ...

Breath in .... breath out ... and relax.

I just signed up for my biggest challenge yet the 'Coast to Coast challenge'. Its a two day event where you end up crossing Scotland by bike, foot and kayak (I get to row down Loch Ness - wow!). The course is just over 100 miles long (eek) which seemed so much smaller before I clicked 'Purchase' on the web-site...
This is going to involve a whole lot of running and bike training and I really must learn how to use a kayak - as I made a complete twit of myself in a RatRace a couple of years ago.

I found that training for the London Marathon this year was a great thing to focus on, and I was looking for another different challenge to look at. I suppose it's all part of the 'Can I do an IronMan (or that type of thing) before I'm 40?' challenge I though about a couple of years ago, and since I still swim like a lead-lined brick then the distance swimming is not really for me. I read about this race earlier in the year, and had my life not paused due to the death of my best friend I would have run it this year, and maybe in a weird way I'm celebrating Damon's Scottish roots by running this race, or maybe i'm reading too much into it.

Don't worry, I haven't sold out - I'm still running and taking part in various races, and it seems Scotland is the place to be in 2012, as I've also signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon too (as a human this time, no furry suit).  The gorilla suit is making a comeback though as i'm running the Reading Half as Gerald again and there is also a hope (please please please) to get into the New York marathon for 2012 - where I promise I will don the  gorilla suit again and run the whole race with a blonde Barbie doll - as it would seem right to run as King Kong in that city. But, I won't find out about it until next year anyway.

That's it for tonight - now to figure out where I left the tent ...

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 ...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Chasing people for fun and recreation

It's been a couple of weeks since I announced the start of Chapter 2, and things are starting to change for the better. I've made it back into work which is a good start, and got back into running again. I even managed a Personal Best on the "Dorney Dash" a couple of weeks ago of 54:28 for 10km!.

It was strange to be running back at Dorney Lake again post marathon, yet also safe territory as I've been there before. I found that the mentally it was a much easier to run that distance as I knew I could run so much further and reminded myself of this as I ran ... and that worked (weird huh).

During the week I also ran with the local running club for the first time as I'm starting to prepare for the Basingstoke Half Marathon in October, it was like an overgrown ParkRun with all the benefits of running in a larger group - it was nice to compare notes on races and they suggested I take a look at the race route to be prepared.

So, today I did. I went for a cycle around the route and boy are there some grinding hills through the countryside - I logged the profile below for anyone curious to see what the route is like. As a comparison the London Marathon has about a 40m height difference at mile 3 and that's about it (check the link to see what I mean).

However, it's not all doom and gloom as its going to be a very challenging yet rewarding race - the trick will be not to over do it early and be prepared to run a slower pace - so probably not a chance to get a new PB, but for many of my friends who are running their first half - this will be a very rewarding personal best.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Chapter 2: The Recovery - Day 1

So, just under 100 days since the big race, here I am blogging again. So much can change in such a short time, I was on such an emotional high at the time something was bound to bring me down - and it was unexpected ... boy was it unexpected.

About a week after the race my Mum had a pacemaker fitted - and being an only child you get kind of nervous of these kind of events as it reminds you of how mortal you are (even if you've just trained for the one of the biggest events of your life). The operation was a success, and all was well ... so back to normal then ... I even did some more running. The Fordingbridge 10k, Shinfield 10k and then the Bracknell 1/2 marathon - all was going so well.

About a week later, I had a call from a friend which lead up to the question "Have you had any bad news lately?", to which I answered "No, why?". It turned out that my best friend had been killed in a car accident - it's still feels wrong just typing it, and since most of his contacts were in his phone, which was in his car ... nobody had been in able to tell any of his friends - so, that's what we did for the next week.

For those that knew both me and Damon, we were friends from Uni and never really grew up. He was my 'big' brother an many times people thought we were related :) we were so similar, and so close that it feels as if part of me has died with him (I know that it sounds like a cliché - sorry)

Then, back at work things were getting a bit hectic as they do - getting 30 people to agree on any project is tricky at the best of times - unfortunately, dealing with the Lilliputian style 'debates' on really minor issues just didn't work for me. I could deal with black and white, but grey didn't appear as an option, and most of these topics were just in the grey.

In the meantime, back at home my Mum's health was up and down - and finally we accepted that she'll have to stay permanently, so we started to process the selling up of her house (fun fun fun).

They about two weeks later, another friend was found dead in a local park, which unfortunately shook apart whatever pieces I had stuck back together in my head.


Finally, something snapped, and I had to talk to the doctor to help, and so for the last four weeks I've been recovering at home - very slowly getting my head/heart back together.

I'm not trying to indicate that my experience/pain is in anyway bigger/better than those experienced by anyone else, i'm just listing it here to remind me of where I am today.

So, why choose today as 'day 1', well ...

  1. I'm starting to go stir crazy at home - which I feel is a good sign
  2. I have an appointment at Life Right, later today which will help me get more things sorted 
  3. Finally, it's my fourteenth Wedding Anniversary today!!!

So, how to celebrate ... well fitness kinda stopped as of the news of Damon, and so to re-awaken that part of my life i'm off training again, and have signed up for the 'Dorney Dash' on Saturday to get myself going. (I know that area from the pre-marathon training, so it'll be almost like home ground). 

That's it for today, Marathon Gorilla is back, and will keep you all updated of his progress.

Thanks for all your support in the past - it has been really appreciated.