Rhino peering over fence

Running Rhino in Huntingdon

We huffed and puffed and shoved and shoved.

The rhino suit was stashed in the back of Richard’s car and I slid myself underneath it. This costume was not designed with portability in mind. It spreads itself into every available space. I pronounce myself and rhino fully installed installed and away we go.

rhino suit in car
It just fits

I’ve only ever been to the Huntingdon parkrun once before so I thought I knew what to expect. I remembered us winding our way around Hinchingbrooke Country Park, taking in the lakes and then making our way back over the hill. I chatted to one of the park wardens and he told me that the previous route had become a contentious issue with many other park users who were more than a little unhappy about the runners churning it up and turning the park into pools of water decorated with ridges of Huntingdon’s finest sludgy mud. Parkrun, always keen to remain good neighbours had agreed to alter the course to try and stick to the harder surfaces. It isn’t as pretty but while attempting to drag myself and rhino suit around the 5k I was quite grateful for those non sludgy surfaces.

I got a lovely reception from the other parkrunners and I posed for many pictures. They even did a nice little announcement at the start telling folks what I was up to and even trying to explain why I was wandering around in a rhino suit.

We also attended the new runners and visitors talk and were reminded that slower runners and rhinos should keep to the right to allow faster runners to pass.

Carrie took some photos of me and this one I find particularly amusing.

I’m standing in the middle of a crowd of folk and they all have their backs to me. Carrie suggests that the caption should be ‘the rhino in the room’.

rhino at Huntingdon
A Rhino in the Room

We set off and I lumbered after the crowd wagging my little rhino tail behind me. At the first turn there was this crazy person (hello Henry) shouting at us. He has huge amounts of that wonderful parkrun enthusiasm packed into one person and releases it without reservation upon everyone that passes. It’s a little disconcerting (terrifying) when first encountered but delightful next time around when I knew what to expect.

start of race
Just before start

The path was really nice and we wound around in amongst the trees. I’m moving well and begin to pass folks. They wish me well as I silently glide by. OK OK, I bustle past in a flurry of noise and bizarre bouncing costume bits careering out in every direction. It must be a traumatic experience for many. I pass one person and assure her that she’ll probably pass me again later. She thinks maybe not but reckons she has an excuse for keeping it nice and steady this week. This is her first time back running after having a baby. I think she said she gave birth two weeks ago!

We see Henry again and are now prepared for his force nine enthusiasm. He puts wind in our sails and I’m now shuffling along as fast as my little rhino legs will carry me. I yomp home in a time of 33:29 which I claim as my rhino parkrun PB. Huntingdon parkrun have a wonderful tradition and if you know you’ve got a personal best then you ring the PB bell. I rang it heartily and did a rhino dance of celebration.

Jolly good fun

We put together some video clips of the run.

Hope you enjoy:

If anyone gets the urge to donate to Save The Rhino then please visit the page http://virginmoneygiving.com/jimmowatt and donate whatever you feel you can afford.


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