Despite temperatures that hovered around 25 degrees Celsius, two Rimbey high school students and three staff from the school took part in a five kilometre run held recently in Edmonton.
And, to add to the challenge, they competed while wearing full mountain gorilla suits.
Sixteen-year-old, Grade 12 student, Sydney Madu said the run was a fundraiser for the preservation of the Mountain Gorillas and suits were mandatory.
“It was very hot,” she said. “For me anyway, it was much more of a challenge.”
Seventeen-year-old Ryley Hohn, also in Grade 12, came in third in the race in which about 250 people participated, finishing the five kilometres in about 25 minutes, about six minutes longer than his usual time.
“I expected to do good, but I was pleased to get a medal. That was pretty cool.”
Both Hohn and Madu belong to the school’s cross-county running team and enjoy the sport.
“It helps clear your mind, gives you a better outlook and helps keep you fit,” said Madu.
Chris Oram, assistant principal at Rimbey Junior/Senior High School, and his wife, Jean, also took part in the race along with teachers Jarrod Robertson and Ceara Newman.
Oram, who ran pushing his 18-month-old son Nathan in his stroller, said the race was a lot of fun.
“When else to do get to dress up in a gorilla suit and run with a lot of other people also dressed up in gorilla suits,” he said.
While Oram maintained the race was fun, he added his son was a “very heavy” 18-month-old child.
“I need something to account for my slower than usual time,” he joked.
Staff and students from the school participated in the race last year as well.
“We’ll probably do it again next year as well. It’s becoming a little bit of an annual event.”
The Edmonton Gorilla Run, held Sept. 8 was hosted by Canadian Friends of the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund and the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.
The funds are dedicated to the preservation of the Mountain Gorilla. There are only about 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the world and an international team of veterinarians, the Gorilla Doctors, provide them with medical care, which continues to help the overall population increase.