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, 28 November 2010

Day 59 - Hell Freezing Over

Fek Me it's cold! .... (well that's the child friendly version) - but thats how I felt first thing this morning.

Why - because today was my 'half-way' point in my training. I chose the HellRunner event as my 'I can run a half-marathon' challenge ... 
  • I knew it would be tough, 
  • I knew it would really push me
  • I knew it would hurt
So, what's it all about? Well HellRunner is 10-12 miles of rather extreme Trail running over grass, ruts, tracks, rivers, sand and MUD - I cannot over emphasise the mud (see below for 'Bog of Doom'). 

Before heading out I made sure I had all the running gear set-up and a complete change of clothing into the 'as warm as I can find' section of the wardrobe  - I also had the pleasure of my wife Helen and friend Nick's company for the day - they took lots of photos, cheered me on and helped me change at the end of the race as the cold hit me rather hard.

When we arrived we were in the 'cheap' (non-VIP) parking, so the first thing that greeted me was the remains of the previous day ...
I do hope he/she got home alright

Then as we walked up the hill the 'Bog of Doom' made it's appearance - it was huge and covered in ice (not the most inspiring).

Even the sharks were not going in the water it was that cold
Bring it on (says Gerald)
After much swearing I made it to the starting area where killed time with warm-ups and general gorilla-ness. Don't worry there was no chance I was doing he event as a gorilla, but anything to raise interest in my run next year (I have no shame).
Another Gorilla sighting

A lot of charity racers were there, with many runners supporting CLIC and a great chat with Katie who was running to support BLISS as she said 'two of her children were premature, and the charity helped her - this is her way of helping them' - which was really nice.

The lead-up to the race felt like the build up on a Roller Coaster ... once you're on it and buckled in - there's no turning back. 

5...4...3...2...1  - BANG .... off we go (mmm that smoke was so yummie for the first mile) - it started off as a normal run (almost ParkRun style) .... and then after a few Km the crazy hills started ... 'I should never use the internet when drunk' was the line I heard from one guy as he tried to rationalise why he was running today.

Repeat the 'Hills, ruts, sand' pattern for a while and you get the idea.

About 2 miles from the end was the 'Bog of Doom' ... now the real 'Fun' begins ...

Ok - so I saw a skull and went all Luvvie - what do you expect?

... we all piled into the 'flippin' freezing mud, and plodded on.

I must confess I was the one to start the chant of:
Then after that madness, up a hill (or two) then over a river twice (there and back again) into a giant sandpit which looked like a part-time motor-cross track and then finally back onto the path and back in ...

Did I mention COLD ..... ? to show how deep the mud was check out the 'plimsoll line'.

Shoulder deep in the Bog of Eternal Stench 

Once I finished (about 1:50 for the race) Helen & Nick caught up with me as I managed about three word sentences due to the fact I was core cold.; they helped me change into the warm clothes and fed me warm coffee until I stopped shivering - Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You, it really helped me return to normal (whatever that is). Then a bite to eat and head back home to 'Wash that Bog right out of my hair' and play hunt the blister plaster.

Now, a few hours later I feel elated that I managed to complete this event - and I now feel that my training is really paying off, and am not scared of taking on a half-marathon ... just not tomorrow. 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Day 58 - Put on a Happy face

Another week down, back to training at the weekend again (too busy in the evenings again).

So, Parkrun time again - getting up early on a Saturday and off to War Memorial Park ... but boy it's cold this morning. You know its cold when the most of the dogs the runners bring are Huskies (no joke).

Out with the WildMan shirt, the RatRace Buff and the compression ... er ... trouser thingies ... (OK tights) and go out and have a good run (I love the freebies from these runs, it's great), and I came back in with a time of 24:17 - a good 'warm' up for tomorrow's HellRunner.
However, the other side of the training hit me today ... it does get very lonely out there and its at that point you really appreciate the support of those who back you but you can feel doubts too...

  • Am I being taken seriously?
  • Do they realise why I'm doing this?
  • Do they care?

I know that sounds harsh so I feel I should back up that kind of statement ... each of the events I have selected in my training is there to push me ... they aren't easy and require a lot of preparation (both physically and mentally), and I want to come out of these events more confident and stronger as I prepare for 40Km in a gorilla suit in April. I know that at this point in time I cannot run a marathon today but I am trying my best to not let the gorillas down.

Why am I doing this - here are some of the reasons:

  • Helping People
    • The Gorilla Organization helps communities that are  hungry, they use the tagline "Empty stomachs have no ears." To start protecting the gorilla habitat it has to start with helping African people in need.
  • Re-building the environment
    • Almost  800,000 native trees have been replanted to help restore the forest.
  • I Hate stats!
    • If somebody can put a positive spin on the following stats, and why we shouldn't care then please let me know:
      • Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), found on the Nigeria-Cameroon border, estimated population 204-292. IUCN threat category: Critically endangered
      • Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei), found in Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, estimated population 700. IUCN threat category: Endangered.

These are only some of the reasons for my support of this charity. I'd really like to know if you are supporting me.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Day 51 - Unleash the WildMan (And Save the Human Race)

Back into a race again today as part of training, also to ramp up the distance and see what happens.

Todays race was WildMan over near Guildford; it was a 15Km over Army ground - somehow I knew this was going to hurt. I initially had a choice between the 10 and 15Km runs; so thought I'd have a go at the longer one. 
Gerald gets an outing
Basically, we all did the 10Km lap, with a rather huge pool of water just before the finish/transition (thanks guys),  and then on to the second lap. This lap had rather interesting names on the map like 'A Ridge Too Far', and 'Hurt More Hill' ... and boy was it much more interesting:
  • Waste deep river crossing (brrr it was cold)
  • 6" wide carved river gullies down a steep hill  
  • Steep hills that were made goats not humans
  • Running on lots of sand not solid ground
Running down a more 'shallow' hill
Don't get me wrong - it was excellent fun and plan to do more in the series.
Final Straight ... and still smiling :)

My plan was to see if I can pace myself at about 6 mins per Km; just to show I can pace myself over a good distance - and with a time of about 1:32:39 for the race, I was really pleased that I managed it.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Day 44 - Perry-aid

Phew - what a busy week !!!

Work for 9-5, a production in the evening and then time to sleep - thats been about it; not that it's not been a productive week at all - far from it. Not the best for training, but time to adapt.

The evenings have been taken up with preparations for a production is 'Waiting in the Wings' by Noel Coward; and since it's set in a nursing home there is no chance for running about or fancy dance routines (surprise).

So, after a good run of the show last night I have to confess that the idea of running in the morning was not at the front of my mind - and I even took the batteries out the alarm clock so I would wake up when I was good and ready.

Guess what!!! - 7:15 am - 'Whoopee' - I'm awake !!!, oh well better get up then... get out 'the old bike' and cycle into town ready for a ParkRun. This week the ParkRun is back to the normal site, so no extra hills and my time was just under 24 minutes - which was a lot better than last week.

I might sneak in a run tomorrow though to play catch up (depends when the after show party ends).

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Day 37 - Breathe dammit

That was rough this morning ... the ParkRuns in Basingstoke use two sites and when something like a firework festival is being set up then they make use of 'Site-B'. For those that remember Jurassic Park - all the extra evilness was reserved for the second film - well the same applies here.

'Site-B' has evil hills (it feels like lots of them), and I'm sure they don't go down as much as they go up.

Looking down an evil hill

Well on the second lap all the yuckness of the cold for the last two weeks caught up and decided to sit on my chest ... not good - oh and my headset died (sadly my Sony Walkman does seem sensitive to sweat - much badness)

As I was slowing down to recover, another runner Matt stepped in did a huge amount of  motivational support and refused to let me slow down and keep breathing ... and it worked.

I really do owe him a lot today, as the motivational element kept me going, and he reduced his placing just to ensure I finished.

Thanks again Matt.