Rhino runners hail ‘phenomenal’ London Marathon crowd

18:38 21 April 2013

The sight of a rhino running down the road would ordinarily shock many of us, but at the London Marathon it has become a well known occurrence.

Runners from Save The Rhino are perhaps the most recognisable of all the costumed participants, sporting huge head to toe rhinoceros suits.

The organisation had 51 runners taking part this year, 15 of whom were in full rhino costumes, as they continue to lead the charge for promoting conservation of the species.

The Save The Rhino team were well set up to receive their runners at the finish line, with sandwiches, refreshments and even a team of masseurs on hand.

The first rhino back was 43-year-old Justin Wateridge, who runs a travel company in the Cotswolds. His watch had stopped but he thought he might have achieved his target of under five hours in the eight kilo suit by a minute or two.

It was his third marathon with Save The Rhinos, he described the suit as “cumbersome and very hot” and said: “But all the runners around you are lifted by it.”

He added: “The crowd was phenomenal this year.”

The second rhino across the line was John Black, 33, from Johannesburg, South Africa. It was his first time running the London Marathon and he had travelled here especially to take part. Astonishingly, he had never even run in the suit before.

He said: “Living in South Africa I have seen the rhino population there dropping, so it is close to home for me, I want to do everything I can to help prevent this.

“I loved the race, the support for the rhino suits was incredible.”

Justin and John have already raised nearly £8,000 between them.

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