Hundreds of human gorillas will be hitting the racecourse at Camp Mabry for the sixth annual Austin Gorilla Run, starting at 9 a.m., January 30. The gorilla-costumed participants can partake in the 5K course, and this year’s event will also include a costume contest, a new banana suit category and a spectacular post-race Silverback After Party at Camp Mabry.
The Gorilla Run benefits the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund (MGCF), a nonprofit organization founded in 1983 that provides veterinary services to highly endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Those who don’t have a gorilla or banana costume need not worry, as all new participants receive their own new suit to keep. Before the race, gorillas and bananas will compete in the Most Creative Costume Contest.
Thirsty Planet Brewing Company, a proud sponsor of the Gorilla Run, will pour a specialty beer aptly named Silverback Pale Ale, in conjunction with great food from various restaurants and music.
In 1986, the MGCF built the world’s first “on-location” veterinary center in Rwanda for the protection of endangered animals. At the time there were only 248 mountain gorillas left in the world. Thanks to help from the MGCF and its partnerships, there are now approximately 880 alive in the wild today. Race proceeds will also go toward the Ruth Keesling Wildlife Health and Research Center in Kampala, Uganda. The first of its kind for Africa’s wildlife, the center will teach local Africans to become qualified in wildlife health and management with the option of continuing to become wildlife veterinarians. The center will also house a laboratory dedicated to the study of infectious wildlife diseases.
“It’s quite a sight to see hundreds of people dressed as gorillas supporting a great cause,” says Frank Keesling, president of MGCF. “We are keeping Austin weird in a fun family way for all ages as well as bringing awareness to the critically endangered mountain gorilla.”
Cost: Entry fees range from $30 to $99.95, for first-time gorillas/bananas and includes a costume and admission to the Silverback After Party (beverages, food and music). Location: 2200 W. 35th St., Austin. For more information, call 720-524-0272 or visit AustinGorillaRun.com.