I’m running the London 10K race on Sunday July 13. Please don’t applaud…I’m only one of thousands of people around the country who are doing or have done the same thing.
And I’m not one of the many others who take this running lark to a whole new level by plodding around a marathon course. Hats off to those amazing people!
But for me, this run has special significance, as I’m attempting to raise money for Care for the Wild, the Horsham charity of which I’m CEO. It might seem strange that I’m doing this for my own charity. ‘Haven’t you got fundraisers to do that for you?’ you might ask. Well, yes we do, and we also have willing volunteers who every year will run half marathons, marathons and even jump out of a plane for us.
I’m doing it, then, because quite simply I believe in the work Care for the Wild does, and I care passionately about the animals we help. And in many cases, their need has never been greater.
As a charity, a good description of our work is that we help animals ‘from hedgehogs in Horsham to tigers in Thailand’. Literally. As you can guess from the picture, though, I am specifically running this event to help elephants. Why? For a start, it’s a sad fact that in the time it takes me to run 10k, four elephants will have been killed in Africa, most likely for their tusks.
On average, an elephant dies every 15 minutes, every hour, every day. At that rate, they’ll all be gone from the wild in about 20 years. Seriously, 20 years. If you were planning on going on safari one day, best get on with it.
The next question you could ask is ‘does it matter’? Well yes, it does. There will be few reading this who weren’t astounded the first time, as a child, they came across this huge lumbering beast with a massive nose. As adults, we’ve become used to their appearance, but as children we recognised the sheer uniqueness of these animals. For me, it would be a disaster of epic proportions if future generations – starting from the next generation – were born into a world no elephants existed. Books like Babar and Elmer would be understood as books about a mythical creature, one that used to exist but no longer does. Like a dinosaur.
There are a host of other reasons why it would be unimaginable for us, as humans, to be responsible for the extinction of elephants…not to mention lions, tigers and rhinos, other iconic species which are equally endangered.
So if by running 10k around London helps even one other person start caring about elephants, and helps Care for the Wild raise even a few more pounds for our elephant projects, then it’ll be worth it. That’s why I’m running for their lives.
To sponsor Philip Mansbridge, please click on https://www.justgiving.com/philip-Mansbridge. To find out more about Care for the Wild’s work, see www.careforthewild.com