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“Maybe I’m a little bananas”: Jesus PhD student to run Cambridge Half-Marathon carrying huge toy monkey

Nearly 100 of our students, staff, and alumni are to take part in this Sunday's (5 March 2023) Cambridge Half-Marathon, but one runner’s choice of attire is a little more unorthodox than trainers and joggers.  

Jesus PhD student Anderson Allcock will be running the 13.5 mile race carrying a 4ft 7in, 5kg cuddly toy monkey on his back. He is doing so to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, which grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses - a charity Anderson describes as “incredibly inspirational”.

He said: “Those who know me were probably not surprised when I decided to run a half-marathon with a 5kg toy monkey on my back because when I set myself a challenge it is either go big or go home (and maybe I'm a little bananas).

“I am running in aid of Make-A-Wish UK - a charity I am really passionate about. The wishes they grant have an incredibly powerful impact and create magical memories not only for the severely ill children but also for the families that they may leave behind.”

“My life motto is to make every day count. Therefore, in the spirit of this charity, I wanted to hopefully provide some smiles and laughter to the other runners and people supporting.”

Anderson said he came up with the idea of carrying the monkey while thinking of ways to incorporate the spirit of his chosen charity into his half marathon effort.

“As I sat in my room thinking about what I could do, the beaming smile of the huge toy monkey my Dad got me when I was younger caught my eye.

“Instantly I knew this was the solution. Make-A-Wish provide a light of hope and joy to a child's dark prognosis. They give these children and their family a reason to smile despite all of the pain and upset they are going through. I hope that carrying the monkey through the streets of Cambridge will give people a reason to smile when they see his cheeky grin bobbing up and down on my head.

“This is going to be a really tough challenge, but each smile (and pound) raised during the run will push me to complete the monkey’s 13.5 mile tour of Cambridge this Sunday.”

Rob Shephard, one of the half marathon runners

Anderson has already exceeded his fundraising target of £175 for Make-A-Wish – £1 for every ounce of weight the giant monkey will be adding to his run – but he hopes that people will continue to donate. A link to his JustGiving page can be found here.

Among the other runners taking part in the half-marathon this Sunday will be Porter Nigel Norris, for whom this will be his 11th Cambridge Half-Marathon, having run every race since the launch of the event in 2012. Postgraduates Carlotta Ehrenzeller, Stephanie Cooper, and Tom-Louis Flohrer will be running in aid of the Disaster Emergency Committee’s Turkey-Syria Earthquake appeal. To donate, visit their JustGiving page. 

College Financial Controller Rob Shephard will also be running. He says that he wants to run the half marathon not to win, but to prove to himself that he can do it. He believes that the spirit of the half marathon should be one of personal bravery and triumph rather than competitiveness, and that the race is brilliant for bringing out the best in people.

Runners will be running a route which takes them through the College grounds, entering the College at the Lower Park Street gates and exiting onto Jesus Lane before turning onto Victoria Avenue just before they cross the finish line.

All Jesus students, Fellows, and staff and their families are welcome to come and watch the race and cheer the runners on. 

The College will not be open to the general public during the race.

We wish all of our runners the very best of luck and will be cheering them on this Sunday!