Chris Green Manager of Premier Relocation in Yorkshire is a keen runner. He’s also very slightly barmy about rhinos. A little explanation needed? Thought so!
Chris calls himself Rhino Boy Chris. He’s dedicated much of his spare time to running, but he’s not your average jogger. Chris has spent the last ten years running marathons, and marathon-plus distances, dressed as a rhino.
Over that time he has run around 70 marathon-plus distances and is currently 33 into a series of 40 events that he calls the Rhino Challenge. He expects to complete it at the London Marathon this April as it will coincide with the ‘London’ being 40 years old itself.
“There seems to be a nice symmetry about that,” he said. Some of the events he gives names. One held at the end of January he dubbed the Tornado Rhino because it was blowing a gale most of the time – not an easy thing when dressed in an animal suit. Another he called the Night Safari Rhino: three marathons over consecutive nights. Then there was the Wino Rhino, which involved running through a vineyard and sampling the wares along the way – enough said!
So why Rhinos? “I fell in love with rhinos when he was a child,” he said. “I found out that we were in danger of losing the rhinos I knew I had to do something. I found out about the work done by Save the Rhino International, and wanted to get involved.”
Three of the five species of Rhinos are endangered: the Black Rhino, the Sumatran Rhino and the Javan Rhino; the White Rhino and the Greater One-horned Rhino aren’t doing much better either. Chris said that every day three rhinos die either to African poachers or as a result of loss of habitat in Asia. “Whenever I run, I always think, by the time I finish this marathon, another rhino will have died.”
The money Chris raises goes directly to Save the Rhino International to work with local communities and key experts to help keep the animals safe. “How can the trade in rhino horn have a place in the 21st century?” asked Chris. “People just want it as a status symbol. The only good place for rhino horn is on a rhino. Unless people stand up and fight back, we're going to sleepwalk into losing them. I’m not going to stand by and watch that happen.”
If you don’t want to stand by and watch it happen either, help Chris by donating what you can to help keep them safe. To do so, go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/rhinoboychrisgreen.
Oh! And one other thing. Chris is a Guinness World Record holder. At last year’s London marathon he clocked the fastest time for running a marathon dressed as a three-dimensional animal: 4hrs, 32min 26 sec. That’s fast, even without a rhino on your back.