28 Days Beforehand

My own personal battleground in the fight to save lorises

13.1 miles. I couldn’t do 1.1 when I started.

So… Five months since I signed up and the time has flown by. On many occasions I have doubted myself and my ability to finish this run, but with a little under a month left I am satisfied in saying I finally do feel like a long-distance runner.

Already it has been quite an adventure. From helping out at WOMAD to sitting at the bar with Forrest in Denmark, any low points have easily been bettered by the high ones. Currently I am comfortably running around eight miles, with my training consisting of one long run per week, plus one or two smaller ones in order to minimise injury risk. At present pace I am on the borderline of what could be considered a very good time, at the worst respectable.

What that border (or indeed target) is I’m going to keep quiet about, but in order to hopefully err more on the ‘good’ side I have not just quit smoking but [drumroll]… Alcohol. Or at least from October 1st I will be. Not to sound like an alcoholic, but having gone to uni, been backpacking twice and being at football most weeks (clue: they’re on the map), that is a fairly big deal for me. Although a temporary measure, it should ensure that I’m at peak fitness when the 28th arrives. Also as an added bonus, this will mean my girlfriend has to double her donation. Which brings me on to my next point…

A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has donated so far. After setting my initial target as £250, to sit on almost £500 this far in advance is truly humbling. No matter how big or small the amount, seeing an email titled ‘Someone’s made a donation on your page‘ in my inbox always brings a smile to my face (and also Forrest’s). Rest assured that all funds will be used in the best possible way in the ongoing fight to help save the slow loris.

Having been advised not to train up to the full thirteen (point one, that could make all the difference) miles, my next goal personal goal is to work up to around eleven whilst taking in as many hills as possible; if you can handle them, then it makes the flatter parts all the easier. I will also be taking on a more loris like diet with lots of fruit, carbs and proteins, obviously taking care to avoid such things as bugs and reptiles along the way. I’m not doing that raw egg thing either, sorry.

In the meantime, keep an eye on this site for Forrest’s final diary entry, whilst I myself will check in once or twice before the big day. The finish line is most definitely in sight.

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A Long and Winding Road

Meet Forrest

Meet Forrest. The only type of loris you should even think about owning.

It began in early April. Drunkenly ranting about animals as usual, a friend asked if I’d fancy a half-marathon.  I’d like to say that it was a handshake right there that tied me in like my tattoo and South America, but I instead gave it some headache infused thought the next day. The answer was a ‘yes.’

Having that week seen Jungle Gremlins of Java, my inebriated babble wasn’t of red pandas or lemurs for a change, but slow lorises. I was aware already aware of them and even tried finding wild ones myself in Southeast Asia last year, but I hadn’t known how big a fight they face. I’m not ashamed to say I shed some tears when watching the market scenes.

Slow lorises do face a unique threat. Like many other species they are hunted for traditional medicines and their habitats are being torn apart, but few other creatures also face the wrath of the internet. At a glance, over twenty million people have viewed Youtube’s videos of them being kept as household pets.

I can’t add much on the subject which hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere. What I can do though, is help in raising awareness whilst all donations will go directly to Dr Anna Nekaris of the Little Fireface Project, and on to Indonesia. Still having five months to go, with a little assistance I can hopefully achieve a lot.

My initial training efforts consisted of Marlboro tasting cardiovascular warmups, followed by twenty minute whinges around the streets of Dartford, then a consolatory cigarette on return. I needed help. Progress has been slow, but smoking is hopefully now a thing of the past and nine minutes per mile is no problem. I’ve even found out that a gait analysis has nothing to do with fences, doors or farms.

Although I cautiously signed up for the two hour plus bracket, I’ll be aiming to go under the hundred and twenty minute mark. Either way, it’s a good thing that Amazon and eBay don’t stock slow loris costumes. Should you know of any and their whereabouts, then please leave me in blissful ignorance as I probably would get drunk and order one.

Instead, I will proudly be donning a Little Fireface Project T-shirt whilst the thought of our furry little friends will help me kick on from my current maximum of four miles. Trebling that and then some is going to be a long and difficult road, but I’ll be content in the knowledge that I’ll be helping to save the slow loris one stride at a time.