Organized by the Gorilla Organization, the Fifth Annual Great Gorilla Run will take place on September 22, 2007 — to the delight of thousands, 1,000 runners/walkers in gorilla suits will race for 7km (approximately 4 miles) to the benefit of the endangered mountain gorilla.

Start time is 10:30 a.m., and the race itself will last about 30 minutes for runners and two hours for walkers. For everyone, it’s a day of charitable fun. Since its inception, it has drawn tens of thousands of supporters and inspired other cities to create their own such fun-run. For instance, San Francisco’s first Great Gorilla Run1 was held this year on June 10. A total success!

In addition to its amazing cause, what makes the London race such a treat is its route, which takes participants past many of the city’s most impressive sights, including Tower Bridge and The Tate Modern. For spectators, the route can be joined by a number of tube stations.

THE ROUTE
Starting at the London Underwriting Centre off Mincing Lane, EC3R, the route goes down Mark Lane to Tower Hill (1), onto Tower Bridge Rd. (2), then loops around to King William Street to Upper Thames Street (3). It then goes down Southwark Bridge Rd. to Bankside Jetty, onward to Hopton Street, where a turn is made up New Bridge Street to start the way back to Paul’s Walk and up Porter’s Hill. It continues to Queen Victoria Street (4), to Cornhill (5) and Leadenhall Street; then makes a hard left down Aldgate (6) to Fenchurch Street to Dunster Court, and back to Mark Lane. Fini!

TUBE STATIONS AND HOTELS
Runners and their supporters coming to London for the run will find well-located accommodation, and an assortment of tourist attractions, around these tube stations.

1. Tower Hill
Attraction: Tower of London, famed prison, palace and place of execution, royal history is steeped in it.

2. London Bridge Station
Attraction: Tate Modern (Upper Thames Street), across St. Paul’s Cathedral.

3. Monument
Attraction: The Monument, the tallest freestanding stone column in the world at 202 feet, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

4. Mansion House
Attraction: Mansion House (Palace of the London Mayor).

5. Bank
Attraction: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, plus St. Peter upon Cornhill, St. Michael’s Church Cornhill, and St. Katharine Cree Church.

6. Aldgate
Attraction: St. Botolph’s Church-Without-Aldgate (250 year-old church, built by George Dance the Elder, who also built the Mansion House.)

THE FEE?
For spectators, it’s of course free. Just bring your cheers. To partake in the “iconic charity fun run” however, it costs £100 for first-time runners/walkers, a fee which covers registration, a donation to the Gorilla Organization, and your gorilla suit. After the race, it’s yours to keep. (www.gorillas.org/GreatGorillaRun/)

Each participant’s goal is to be sponsored £400. To make it simple, find 20 people to sponsor for just £20 and you’ve met the goal.

GO APE!
In 2003, the very first Great Gorilla Run was held as a way to bring awareness to a critically-endangered species. Today, the determination to help is strong as ever and it’s quite clear that that support will always be there, so long as there is the need. Of course hopefully one day, there won’t be. Until that day though, be part of the effort and Go Ape!

After the fun-run, an after-party will take place for all runners/walkers and their friends. The location is currently under wraps, but it will be in central London. Tickets for runners are £5 and for others, just £10. All money raised from tickets will of course to go the Gorilla Organization (www.gorillas.org/_Shop/_GGR_Party).

Ben Jackson (the chap behind TubeHotels) is running for the gorillas. Please sponsor him.

* 2006 Great Gorilla Run, London. Photos reprinted with permission of the Gorilla Organization.
1 San Francisco’s inaugural race, also organized by the Gorilla Organization.