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14 July 2017

Tom Harrison raised nearly £25,000 for charity - at the expense of his knees

London Marathon in gorilla suit

A man dressed in a gorilla costume has completed the London marathon in six days, crawling round the 26-mile course and raising £23,900 for the Gorilla Organisation.

Tom Harrison, 41, made it across the finish line on Saturday morning, having set out at 10.34am the previous Sunday. He was accompanied by his young sons, dressed in gorilla costumes.

He told the Metro that the money he raised will be used to increase self-sufficiency in communities near gorilla habitats, reducing their reliance on the bushmeat trade, and fund ranger services in areas affected by poaching and excess hunting. 

The man dubbed "Mr Gorilla" reportedly averaged about 4.5 miles per day, crawling for around 12 hours before collapsing into beds belonging to friends across the capital. 

With only four crawling training sessions beforehand, the policeman found the iconic course tough going. He was forced to take a rest every 100 to 200 metres, and to switch between his hands and knees and a more upright position on his hands and feet to stop his knees from blistering.

Initially, he wore knee pads, but discarded these after the first day, and later posted a picture to Twitter of his knees rubbed raw against the asphalt.

While half way round the course, he told the Metro: "I'm going good, I've just been having a gorilla power nap. Just been napping on some bark chippings under an old tree, which is the perfect gorilla nesting habitat really."

"It's hard work today. All of my muscles are aching now so I've probably had a few more stops than previous days, but I'm still going forward so that's what matters.

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"It's all about raising the profile of the Gorilla Organisation and raising money. I don't really matter that much, I'm just a conduit to the gorillas in Africa."

Other runners completed the marathon dressed as a rhino, a camel, a toilet roll, and a bishop. One competitor carried a fridge, another carried a cross and ran barefoot, and a third played the mandolin all the way round the course. 

The total raised for 2017 isn't in yet, but in 2016 runners raised £59.4 million, setting a new world record for an annual single day charity fundraising event for the tenth successive year.


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