Markyate man's marathon effort raises thousands for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

George has raised over £4,000 for ZSL

By Holly Patel
Thursday, 25th June 2020, 11:02 am
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 11:04 am

A bird keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo ran a marathon around the zoo on Friday to raise money to support ZSL's Whipsnade and London zoos, who have struggling financially during the coronavirus lockdown.

Both zoos closed in March to help stop the spread of the coronavirus as the country went into lockdown, although both have now reopened, they still need support to secure the future of the zoos and the global science and conservation work ZSL does.

George Spooner, from Markyate, who has never been interested in running, decided to tackle his first marathon in front of the thousands of animals at Whipsnade Zoo.

George Spooner, ZSL Zookeeper, running a marathon around Whipsande Zoo. (C) ZSL

On Friday, June 19, the 27-year-old completed his marathon in five hours and one minute, and raises over £4,200 for ZSL.

He said: "I grew up in the local area and loved coming to the Zoo as a child; now that I am lucky enough to work here I wanted to do something to help.

"I only took up running during lockdown, so this was an incredible challenge for me.

"The wonderful support I had, as I ran 13 laps around Whipsnade Zoo, from my colleagues and our visitors kept me going.

George Spooner, ZSL Zookeeper, running a marathon around Whipsande Zoo. (C) ZSL

"I am so grateful for everyone who donated, shared my fundraising appeal and cheered me along the way.

“My marathon view was certainly unique, I started near our cheetahs to give me a little inspiration to run as fast as I could, plus my view along the way of the hippos, zebras, flamingos and tigers was a great reminder of why I was doing it!

"Donations are still very welcome at”

ZSL launched a campaign this week - fronted by Sir David Attenborough - to raise £12million, £1million a month to cover the feed and care of the animals for one year at both sites, and give the zoos breathing space to get back on their feet.

George Spooner, ZSL Zookeeper, at the start of the marathon around Whipsande Zoo. (C) ZSL

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Read More
Read more: Sir David Attenborough steps in to help ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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