Great Gorilla Run 2011


A team of Gorillas in swimsuit lined up before the start


London was transformed in a jungle when, yesterday, 460 gorilla-suited runners gathered in the City for a charitable fundraising to help save these animals from extinction. There were of all kinds: cowboys and Indians, Peter Pans, Darth Vaders… but almost none of them was allowed to be naked, according to the strict rules.

Martin Palmer, 44, accountant, is one of the starters: “Why am I here?” he tells, “first because it’s a stupid thing! But mainly because we want to raise money to help save gorillas from extinction, and also to build facilities for the peoples that live in those areas.”

In fact, not only are the 720 remaining gorillas at risk, but also those who live in their surroundings have to face big everyday problems; the organisation aims to help them as well through education and community development. This year’s target was to find 720 runners who could take £400 sponsorship each by convincing 20 of their relatives, friends and colleagues to give £20, for a total amount of about £300,000.

Many participants have found this event for chance: “I had done a lot of charity runs for children before I came across the Great Gorilla Run website, tells Graham, 24, from Gloucester “I didn’t have a particular interest in it, but then I discovered how the situation was.”

No one seemed to be aiming to the victory in the 4-mile track along and across the river Thames: “My expectations? To have fun and finish the race!” says Alex, 35. For the record, the winner is Matthew Hay, 23, from West Hampstead, in 37 minutes, while Monica, from Poland but living in London, was the first woman to reach the finish line.

That is the result of this year’s Great Gorilla Run. If you want to get involved in the next year’s one, you can visit the official website of the organisation:; the subscriptions are already open, all you need is good will, £20 and a bit of training… and a gorilla suit, of course!