984The Great Gorilla Run

The Great Gorilla Run

Sunday 25 September 2011

Phil Wilding gets to grips with his inner gorillaGorillas
Jostling your way through a throng of determined runners is hard enough, try it with your peripheral vision retracted so it looks like you’re staring through a keyhole and did I mention the gorilla suits we were all wearing? And that the UK’s much-touted Indian summer had finally been brought to bear? No, there weren’t any bears, pay attention. The Great Gorilla Run (www.greatgorillarun.org) tramps across London annually, along the banks of the Thames and across three of its bridges, hundreds of individuals who have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning than save apes by dressing up as them and running 7K. It was 8K this year for some reason, presumably because I was taking part and I’m very unpopular, even among people who haven’t met me. It might not sound like much to you, but five miles in what amounts to a furry gimp outfit takes it toll. It was worth it though, the sense of collective madness unified as the sun came out and we pulled our furry heads on. If we were going out we were going out together. I ran with that very much in mind until someone passed me carrying a handbag and my competitive instinct (or my dumb male gene as my girlfriend calls it) took over and I put my foot down.I wasn’t the only one flat on his back at the finishing line – it looked like a scene from The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – if Bill Oddie had been it. He was there at the end to hand us our medals and I don’t mind telling you that I hugged him like one might an old lover. I literally had to wring out my running top, but as I sat in the sunshine enjoying a banana and about as much water as it would take to flood a valley, I was already beginning to miss my hirsute band of brothers. See you next year then...

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