Dad to mark 50th birthday by running 50 mile fundraiser around Colchester Zoo
- Credit: Mark Prigg
A dad-of-two from Colchester who can't bear to see his family's favourite attraction collapse is spending his 50th birthday running up to 50 miles around the grounds of Colchester Zoo.
Mark Prigg will be celebrating turning the big 50 by pulling on his running gear and taking on the 10-hour challenge to help raise vital funds for the zoo's survival.
His mammoth fundraiser comes after the zoo's director Dr Tropeano asked people to support the attraction and issued a stark warning about it's future - following nearly a £4million loss in turnover.
Mr Prigg, who works in technology at Linklaters law firm, was inspired to take on the fundraising challenge after a conversation with his daughter Maddie, 18, who works at the enclosure.
Maddie was meant to start university last autumn, but deferred her place due to the coronavirus pandemic and has since been working at the zoo in the marketing and admin team.
Mr Prigg, who also has a 22-year-old son named Tom, said Maddie has a "passion" to find out how the zoo operates and said it is "more than just a job" for the teenager.
He said he sees a "sparkle" in her eye when she talks about the zoo, and hopes to forge a career in this area.
"She often tells me about the developments at the zoo, new enclosures, new animals arriving and more recently about how much the zoo is struggling," said Mr Prigg.
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"I have loved the zoo ever since I was little and to hear about how much money it's lost and how it is struggling to survive is awful.
"The money it is haemorrhaging is eye watering. It desperately needs people's help as it is such a big part of the town."
Mr Prigg has decided to try and tackle 50 miles around the paths of Colchester Zoo, in Maldon Road.
He will arrive at 7am, when the first member of staff gets onsite, and will have 10 hours to get as close to his target as possible.
He said: "By doing this I really want to raise awareness of the zoo's plight for survival and try to raise as much money as possible.
"Even if I just raise enough to feed a few rhinos for a couple of weeks, I just want to make a difference as the zoo is something we should be proud of."
Mr Prigg, who has previously completed two London Marathons, has already begun training and said he has got his "running mojo back".
He said the task has given him focus as he has been living alone in lockdown, and he hopes to be in great shape when he takes on the gruelling challenge on Sunday, February 28.
To support Mr Prigg you can donate to his fundraising page here.