Worth More Alive VI
LONDON - MARATHON - 24 APRIL
'Paul is a stupid age to be running marathons in a tiger suit, but today Cambodia lost its last tiger, Paul just cannot countenance that happening in India and continues to punish himself with this quest'.
Yes, perhaps he is right, but this is honestly the final time. On the 24th I will jog, walk, plod and probably stagger round this famous course on my marathon swansong. But not the tiger's. These animals, just like rhino and elephants, continue to be poached: their parts devoured all over Asia. 'Traditional' medicine does not work, the perpetrators know this, but just as people eat caviar and fois gras, they consume rhino horn, tiger bone and penis with impunity. Why? Because it is expensive - pitiful badges of honour to massage and fortify their equally pitiful physical and gastronomic libidos.
It is a battle that will be won by three things: education, shaming and going after the poachers. If 'shoot to kill' is not enough, surely a bounty on their heads will be. It will not be won by hand wringing and celebrity crocodile tears.
Every day the rampant slaughter of these priceless animals angers me, every day we lose more - last year 45,000 elephants were killed in Africa alone and this week Cambodia lost its last tiger with a few of its sub-species cousins barely clinging on in other Asian countries.
Do you want to continue to see tigers in the wild? So do I.
IF you can PLEASE attend my presentation in central London 'The suit and the species' on the 20th April, click here- this will be a look back at my passion for tigers and indeed the association with the nine foot high suit. Bring your smartphones as our 'Pound for tiger found' campaign starts that day - thank you Opticron (again) and Lenses for Hire for generously supporting this.
The 24th will be my 20th Marathon, my 13th in the suit. 'Lucky' for the tigers? That remains to be seen.
Running number: 38635 - You can track this on your phones if you are coming to support - the number will not be running very fast.
This year I am raising funds to build a language school next to Tadoba National Park, this is vital as virtually no English is spoken in this park. The school will also be used for the local children who hopefully become guides and Forest guards when they are older. If you cannot make the 20th (please try to) I would love it if you can donate on this site.
There should be some further coverage in the week running up to the race and I will keep posting updates on Facebook - my two favourite tiger shots are currently on there.
By the way, don't be shy in sending this onto anyone you think might sympathise with this fight.
A huge thank you to those involved with this ambitious campaign over the past six years, particularly those runners who have encouraged, cajoled chivvied me throughout those long miles even when I was at my most irascible: Simon, Terry, Ryan, Alun, Andrew, Ben and Chris ('16). Then of course the team at Exodus who have put up with similar irascibility (not forgetting Louisa who monstered the whole 2011 project). None of this would have worked without the best operator in India headed up by Mohan Tickoo. Also my Picture Library and journalists that continue to cover this story, particularly Chris Haslam who has done more than almost anyone else to promote this campaign. Lastly of course to my family who have been utterly behind this from inception.