Austin Gorilla Run to Come to Austin Jan. 30

Simone Heim, News Editor

Coming to Austin for its sixth consecutive year, the Gorilla Run is an excellent way to work out, have fun, and support an endangered species: the mountain gorilla. This isn’t just any other run though — this one has a very specific dress code.

Dress up your gorilla suit and compete in the Most Creative Costume Contest before the race,” Debbie Wright, Development Director for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund (MGCF), said. “Participants have a choice to be either a gorilla or a banana for the day.”

Less athletic individuals can also support the MGCF in other ways.

“High school students can also [start] a fundraiser and [collect] donations for our non-profit organization,” said Ms. Wright.

If you’re in NHS or any other club or group for which you need volunteer hours, the Gorilla Run is an excellent choice, and every second that you work the Gorilla run, you’ll be helping Mountain Gorillas make their way off the endangered species list.

“Volunteers make the event possible,” Ms. Wright said. “There are many opportunities for students to contribute their time to help us put on the event.”

The run originated in 1983 when Dian Fossey requested help with saving the Mountain Gorillas, and it has travelled across the country yearly since.

“When Ruth Keesling took over Dr. Dian Fossey’s work, there were only 248 known mountain gorillas in the world,” Ms. Wright said. “Today, there are an estimated 880 alive, [making] them the only great ape that is posting a positive increase.”

The funds from the run do more than just help the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, though.

“Funds raised from the Austin Gorilla Run support the Ruth Keesling Wildlife Health and Research Center – a first of its kind for Africa’s wildlife,” Ms. Wright said. “The facility will drastically increase the educational support system for teaching Africans about Wildlife Veterinary Medicine.”

The run takes place Jan. 30th, for more information and to register, check out their website here.