On Sunday, April 23, almost 50,000 athletes took to the streets to compete in the 37th London Marathon. While few were able to get even close to Daniel Wanjiru’s 2:05:48 winning time, none were as slow as Tom Harrison, who literally crawled to the finish line, six days later, on April 30.
However, the Metropolitan Police Officer, who was dressed in a gorilla suit, had a good reason for his tardiness. He had completed the 26.2 miles on all fours to raise money to help gorilla conservation efforts in Africa. The 41-year-old who spent an average 8-10 hours on his hand and knees, covered about 4.5 miles each day before crashing at friend’s house for the night. To prevent his knees from blistering, he swapped between hands and knees to to loping along on hands and feet and took breaks every 100 to 200 meters. But the tedious crawl was well worth it.
Harrison, who crossed the finish line at 11:45 am, has raised over £37,000 ($47,800 USD), far surpassing his original goal of £1,790 ($2,300), for the Gorilla Organization, which is dedicated to conserving gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. The much-needed funds will help train the communities near gorilla habitats to become more self-sufficient and decrease their reliance on selling bushmeat for a living. The money will also help pay for ranger services to monitor poaching and excess hunting of the majestic Great Apes. More importantly, Harrison hopes his six-day crawl will highlight the plight of the gorillas, whose numbers are dwindling at alarming rates, and encourage more people to help protect them.
While thrilled at the outcome, Harrison, AKA Mr. Gorilla, is not done yet. He intends to continue his fundraising efforts at the annual RideLondon cycling festival scheduled for the weekend of July 28-30 2017.
Resources: businessinsider.com, guardian.co.uk