Ozaru runs for the Gorilla Organization (previously: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund)

[Why I call myself Ōzaru]

2016

We're back! On 17 September 2016 I took part in the Great Gorilla Run for the seventh time, to raise money for The Gorilla Organization, following on from previous years as shown below. As shown on Just Giving, I far exceeded my target this time, and even won a small trophy for being top individual fundraiser! Gorillas are still critically endangered (indeed, all four species are now critically endangered), and the tense political situation and social factors affecting their habitat leave absolutely no room for complacency, so the numerous donations are very much appreciated.

2010-15: we were unable to take part for several years, due to date clashes, moving house, and so on.

2010

On 26 September 2010 we took part in the Great Gorilla Run for the sixth time. We sadly didn't reach our target but still raised significant funds, as shown on our Just Giving site.

2009: we were unable to take part this year due to a clash of dates.

2008

On 27 September 2008 I took part in the Great Gorilla Run for the fifth time. Between us, Team Ōzaru managed to raise over £2000, although the funds raised are now shown on individual rather than team pages so www.justgiving.com/ozaru2008 only gives the results for myself and Noriko.

Our generous corporate sponsors this year included SOFTtalk Translations (for the fifth year!) and spit-fire creative, as well as the other usual suspects. The second YouTube clip above was one our team made as a parody of the Wombles' famous theme song. There was some good coverage on the BBC, with our orange & green T-shirts quite prominent.

2007

On 22 September 2007 I took part in the Great Gorilla Run for the fourth time. Between us, Team Ōzaru managed to raise over £2400 (see www.justgiving.com/ozaru2007); the run as a whole raised over £250,000. It is certainly needed: although there had been some positive discoveries during the year (e.g. about the intelligence of gorillas being far higher than previously thought), there was also ample sad news: 10% of the Congolese mountain gorilla population were wiped out in a single day, and the lowland gorilla shot to the top of the critically endangered list.

Our generous corporate sponsors this year included:

... as well as the other usual suspects. The YouTube clip above was one our team made in response to the hugely popular Cadbury's 'Gorilla Drummer' advert that appeared shortly before the run (happily, Cadbury's did end up sponsoring the event). There was some good coverage on CNN and lots of photos can be found on FlickR although the official site has disappeared. I was in picture 18864 :-(

2006

On 24 September 2006 I took part in the Great Gorilla Run for the third time, to raise money for The Gorilla Organization (formerly the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund). As always, it was great fun — for an idea of the atmosphere, see the photos here on Flickr (I'd suggest clicking through to the Great Gorilla Run 2006 group) or here on Event-Photos.

Again, I managed to exceed previous targets: thanks to a team effort we raised over £2500 (see www.justgiving.com/ozaru2006).

Thanks in particular to the following generous corporate sponsors:

... as well as the usual help from JNet, Thanet Light Orchestra, St Nicholas-at-Wade villagers, Bujinkan Dojo martial artists and countless other friends, relations and colleagues.

2005

On 25 September 2005 I again took part in the Great Gorilla Run to raise money for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. I set myself various targets to beat: a team total of £1300, a personal total of £1000 and a time of 1 hour.

Despite having put in a couple of days' practice this time (OK, from January 1 to about January 6!), it was no easier than last year; in fact I found it quite hard, particularly the lack of oxygen inside the mask. It didn't help to know that four men who seemed fitter than me had died on the previous week's Great Northern Run.

Nevertheless, it was great fun — particularly the huge variety of gorilla-based costumes (see photos below and here). When I staggered over the line at the end, I had narrowly managed to beat the time I'd set myself — the clock showed 59 minutes 32 seconds. Not the fastest, but not the slowest either. I bet that given a combined figure based on 'age * weight / time', I'd have been in the top ten at least!

[Click any picture for a larger version]
At the beginning
En route At the end
Around 800 Gorillas in fancy dress prepare to start running at the London Underwriting Centre A 'silverbeard'? Or a new species, the Bearded Gorilla? ;-) Suitable refreshments were available at the finishing line to inspire a final spurt

I raised £1358.81 myself (see www.justgiving.com/ozaru2005), which in December 2005 made me the highest solo fundraiser, while our team accomplishment of £1715.26 was the highest level by a 3-person team. Next year I would like to improve on all of these figures, particularly by encouraging more friends to take part. It was a shame that many friends who had said they would join me this year were eventually unable to take part, partly due to the run rapidly becoming over-subscribed. Annette, Bev, Budgie, Charlie, Gary, Katie, Luca, Patrick, Rob, Seb & Tony — all said they would enter early for 2006 (although only two eventually did). FWIW, those across the pond might find it easier to join the Denver Gorilla Run or similar events in San Francisco etc.)

Thanks in particular to the following generous corporate sponsors:

... as well as...

Incidentally, there's food for thought on the LiveScience site, which says that running helped humans evolve from apes.

2004

On 19 September 2004, I and three friends took part in the Great Gorilla Run to raise money for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. I was number 364 out of a total of nearly 650 runners, all dressed in full gorilla suits, personalized in a wonderful variety of imaginative ways (see more photos of the event). The weather was clear but not too hot, and once I'd pinned back my eyes(!) for visibility and widened my nose holes, it was nowhere near as uncomfortable as I'd feared, although I did end up dripping in sweat. The 7 km route took us past most of the famous London landmarks (Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, St Paul's, etc.) including four bridges, whose steps were quite hard to negotiate. En route many people cheered us on, although it was sad to hear one young mother tell a slightly anxious child not to worry as 'the monkeys will be going back to their cages soon', as though that was where great apes belonged. We eventually completed the run in around an hour. Not bad, considering that my only preparation had been a similar run (my first since school!) the day before...

[Click any picture for a larger version]
At the beginning En route At the end

In total I raised £988.18 in sponsorship (the site at www.justgiving.com/ozaru was frozen before I'd collected all of the offline money). Thanks should go in particular to the following:

Overall the Great Gorilla Runs have raised over £1,000,000 (c. US$2 million) for the gorillas — a fabulous figure, but just a drop in the ocean compared to the funds needed. Please do look at the TGO site to find out more about why the gorillas are in danger and other ways in which you could help.

Many thanks again to all who sponsored me, on behalf of the 650now 700! mountain gorillas this was all in aid of.


This page produced by Ben Jones. In the jungle (picture courtesy of The Gorilla Organization, used with permission)