More than 1,000 human gorillas will be hitting the race course at The Mueller Browning Hangar for the 5th annual Austin Gorilla Run, 9 a.m. January 31. The gorillacostumed participants can partake in the 5K course, and this year’s event will also include a costume contest, a kid’s obstacle challenge and a spectacular post-race Silverback After Party at Mueller Browning Hangar.
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 costume need not worry, as all new participants receive their own brand-new gorilla suit to keep. Before the race, gorillas will compete in the Most Creative Gorilla costume contest. Little gorillas can partake in their new obstacle challenge course.
Thirsty Planet Brewing Company, a proud sponsor of the Gorilla Run, will be pouring a specialty beer aptly named Silverback Pale Ale in conjunction with great food from various restaurants and food trucks 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 full wildlife veterinarians. The center will also house a laboratory dedicated to the study of infectious wildlife diseases.
“It’s quite a sight to see more that 1,000 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.”
Entry fees range from $30 to $99.95, for first-time gorillas and includes a gorilla suit and admission to the Silverback After Party (beverages, food and music). Location: 4550 Mueller Blvd., Austin. For more information, call MGCF at 720-524- 0272 or visit AustinGorillaRun.com.