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A Chester business leader is set to run 100km through the Bornean rainforest, to raise money for Chester Zoo’s life-saving orangutan conservation work.

Rob McKay, Managing Director of Sherrington Associates in Chester, is organising the incredible fundraiser – and is appealing for the region’s influential business leaders to join him on the adventure.

The Borneo Ultra-Trail Marathon is an annual event in which athletes compete in a merciless footrace through the Sabah jungle, with 30k, 50k, 100k and 100 mile race options.

McKay hopes that by gathering a team to complete the fundraiser in 2021 vital funds can be generated for Chester Zoo’s conservation work in the Borneo, where unsustainable palm oil plantations are causing devastating deforestation and destroying the rainforest homes of wildlife like orangutans.

Fundraisers are aiming to raise at least £50,000. The money will enable the zoo’s conservation partners in the region, HUTAN, to restore forests and create a key wildlife corridor between disconnected areas of rainforest.

Bornean Orangutan at Chester Zoo

McKay, who is also Chair of the Cheshire Institute of Directors, said:

“In 2006 I visited the beautiful island of Borneo for a family holiday. Many years later in 2018 I listened to a Chester Zoo talk about the devastating effects of deforestation caused by unsustainable palm oil plantations. I was struck and deeply saddened by the huge loss of habitat and biodiversity in the time since I’d visited.

“Last year I began talks with the zoo to try to do something about it. Chester Zoo has been doing conservation work in Malaysia and Indonesia for many years. With their partners HUTAN, they’ve been delivering some really innovative projects to reforest and maintain habitats in order to protect endangered species.

“Understanding their work a little more, I realised that to fully achieve their conservation ambitions, they need more funds.

“Having looked into a variety of endurance challenges that might warrant suitable fundraising opportunities, we finally decided on probably the most ambitious of them all. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but given the variety of race distances available, making it more inclusive for competitors of varying abilities, we felt it was the ideal event and something people across the region can join in with.

“We’re actively looking for sponsors and competitors right now. If you’re interested in becoming a corporate supporter of the challenge, or even lacing up your trainers and joining the adventure to make a real difference, please get in touch!”

To, enquire about supporting the team or joining the adventure yourself, contact fundraising@chesterzoo.org.

A Just Giving page has been set up for donations to the cause here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Race-For-The-Rainforest-2021

Chester Zoo is a registered conservation and education charity delivering 80 projects in 30 countries worldwide to prevent extinction.