Colchester dad raises £4,200 for zoo by running 50 miles on his 50th
- Credit: MARK PRIGG
A Colchester man ran 50 miles around the town's zoo on his 50th birthday, to raise funds for its survival — much to the bemusement of the zoo's animals.
Mark Prigg celebrated the milestone birthday by lacing up his trainers and running around Colchester Zoo for nine and a half hours. Along the way, burnt 4,500 calories and raised £4,200 to support the zoo through coronavirus.
Mr Prigg said: "It was quite surreal. I started running at 7am and I was running round parts of the zoo that even the zookeepers hadn't yet got around to.
"Every time I went past the giraffes. They all ran to the gate thinking I was going to feed them, or something.
"I startled a rhino and it charged across the paddock — not in my direction, I hasten to add.
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"The monkeys were quite funny to watch as well, you could see them almost looking at you as you went past.
"But for me, the meerkats were my favourite because every time I ran past they kept popping their heads up. It was almost as if they were saying: 'Oh, here he is again'.
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"Literally every single one of them was looking at me as I went past."
Mr Prigg said he found the run challenging because of the hilly footpaths around the zoo, but had been "blown away" by people's support.
"It's all a bit of a blur at the moment," he said. "I go onto Facebook or read my emails and messages and it's just gone through the roof. It's really really humbling.
"I'm so touched by people's messages and support. I'm absolutely blown away by it really, not just the donations but the well-wishes as well."
So far Mr Prigg has raised over £4,200 of an initial £3,000 goal.
The money will be used to help support the future of the Colchester Zoo, where his daughter works, after the zoo's director, Dr Tropeano, issued a stark warning about it's future — following nearly a £4million loss in turnover.
You can still donate to his fundraising page here.