CINCINNATI - It's April Fools' Day... But if you saw hundreds of hairy primates running the streets of Cincinnati Sunday morning, your eyes weren't fooling you—the Queen City was taken over by some great apes.
They were big and black and hairy. They rocked out to a live band, got creative with imaginative costumes and ran the streets of Cincinnati… gorilla-style.
They hit the town dressed as Where’s Waldo, Evil Knievel, Geishas, Hugh Hefner, a Playboy Bunny, and all the members of KISS—who also sang just for us.
"They call me Dr. Love! Dr. Love!"
But then, they gathered at the start line at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse, ready to get a move on.
As the gun was shot in the air, 225 gorillas hit the pavement, in wheelchairs, on bikes, roller blades, and skateboards and of course, by foot. It was all in an effort to raise money and awareness for so, pretty real gorillas.
The 5K run, walk and roll benefited the Mountain Gorillas Conservation Fund.
"We developed this run as a fundraising vehicle and also as a way to bring awareness to the Mountain Gorilla," said Frank Keesling, with the Conservation Fund, which is based in Denver, Colo.
The organization took off when it started helping renowned researcher, Dr. Dian Fossey in 1983. When she was murdered two years later, Frank Keesling and his mother, Ruth Keesling, kept their word to help the, then-248 Mountain Gorillas in the wild.
The Gorilla Runs, which started in 2003 in Denver and now takes place in various cities like Cincinnati, fund protection and preservation to the now-790 Mountain Gorillas in the National Park in Rwanda—ensuring their future.
"The Mountain Gorilla is the closest link to mankind, so we need to keep these animals alive. They don't survive in captivity,” said Keesling.
“Once you take them out of their environment, they in essence just give up. They die from loneliness and they don't have their food source. That's why the National Park is such a fragile environment, and they need to stay there."
In its first year in the Queen City, Cincinnati’s running gorillas raised $20,000 for the fund... all while monkeying around.
And the winners are…
Silverback runners (male):
-First place: Joey Zeinner (18:35.00)
-Second place: Jean Seguro (21:57.00)
-Third place: Nicolas Popp (22:03.00)
-First place: Stephanie Cady (26:58.00)
-Second place: Stacey Lingo (22:03.00)
-Third place: Jacquie Purcell (27:44.00)
First to finish on wheels: Marie Weeks
First kid to finish on a bike: Luke Hastings
After the race, runners were entertained by a live band, feasted on Montgomery Inn and enjoyed a banana or two.
For more information about the organization, visit www.saveagorilla.org or call (720) 524-0272. For more about the run visit, http://cincinnatigorillarun.com /.
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