Tuesday, 29 September 2009

'Escaped gorilla' is runner in fancy dress

Motorists reported an escaped gorilla running along a busy road only to discover it was a charity jogger called Rory Coleman wearing an ape costume.

Published: 10:20AM BST 25 Sep 2009

Officers scrambled to the A6 near Leicester expecting to find a primate dodging traffic but found fun runner Mr Coleman, 45, jogging in the shaggy black outfit he had bought from a fancy dress shop.

Mr Coleman, a personal trainer, is taking part in a 143-mile run from Mansfield, Notts, to London to raise money for charity.

He said: "I have had a few strange looks but I hadn't had the police called on me before this.

"I saw the panda car pull up on the opposite side of the road and both officers were staring at me with their mouths wide open.

"They didn't seem too keen to get out initially so stayed in their car just looking at me.

"I think they twigged it wasn't an actual gorilla when they saw I was wearing trainers and had a rucksack on my back.

"I wasn't very far from Twycross Zoo which has a large collection of primates so maybe motorists thought one of them had made a run for it.

"One of the officers that turned up had heard me on the radio that morning so once he knew who I was they let me carry on."

Mr Coleman, a father-of-six from Mansfield, has run 623 marathons and 150 ultra marathons in the last 10 years – a total of 20,267 miles or the equivalent of almost one lap around the globe.

His brush with the law happened at 4.30pm on Wednesday during his sponsored run for the Gorilla Organisation charity.

His wife Sarah-Jane, 43, a civil servant, said: "When Rory told me he'd been stopped by the police it didn't surprise me. He's always been a bit of a cheeky monkey."

A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: "We did receive a call from a member of the public on Wednesday at about 4.30pm who reported seeing a gorilla on the A6 and was concerned for their safety."

Rory will complete his journey when he takes part in a 7km run with 600 ape-suited runners in London.


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