South Warwickshire college tutor prepares to take on half-marathon in full rhino costume

She is hoping to raise at least £1,000 for the Save the Rhino charity

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 10:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 10:44 am

A seasoned marathon runner and former zookeeper has received a show of support from her animal-loving students as she prepares for a half-marathon with a wild twist.

Amber Bence is hoping to raise at least £1,000 for the Save the Rhino charity by taking on the Hackney Half-Marathon in full rhino costume, and animal management students at Moreton Morrell College have helped to kick off the fundraising drive by joining Amber on 5k run.

The £500 raised by the event at the college will be added to total amount generated by Amber when she takes part in the 13-mile race later this year, where she will once again be kitted out in rhino attire.

Amber Bence is hoping to raise at least £1,000 for the Save the Rhino charity by taking on a half-marathon in full rhino costume. Photo supplied
Amber Bence is hoping to raise at least £1,000 for the Save the Rhino charity by taking on a half-marathon in full rhino costume. Photo supplied

The group of 25 students decided to take part in the charity run after studying Level 3 modules on zoological health and husbandry and wildlife conservation and ecology, which Amber leads, and have been inspired to continue their activism after graduation.

Amber, course manager in animal management at Moreton Morrell College, which is part of the college group WCG, said: “As part of their studies, students have been learning about the impacts that humans have had on the planet whilst researching what conservation projects and charities are out there that help to protect certain species and habitats.

“I used to be a zookeeper looking after Southern White Rhinos and now teach about their needs within the captive environment in the zoo module and their plight in the wildlife module, so running in a rhino costume seemed like a perfect challenge that my students could get behind.

“I have run half marathons, full marathons and an Ultramarathon before but this was a completely different challenge for me.

Students at Moreton Morrell College have helped to kick off the fundraising drive by joining Amber on 5k run. Photo supplied

“It is so difficult running in the costume – you have to hold the head up, which is extremely heavy and can easily get stuck in a tree or two, while your vision is restricted.

“I definitely need to practice from now until September, so it was great to have the students alongside me for support on my first attempt.

“They all ran extremely well considering its quite a challenging route but stars of the day were Poppy Groomsbridge, who raised the most and ran the whole course after only starting to run a few weeks ago and Erin Turner, who is also new to running and finished the course in just 30 minutes.”

As part of their wildlife conservation studies, Level 3 students will have the opportunity to go on a study tour to Greece, where they will participate in a turtle conservation project.

Amber Bence (centre) and students at Moreton Morrell College. Photo supplied

The expedition is designed to give the students an invaluable experience and enhance their practical skills ahead of a career in conservation.

For more information about animal management courses at Moreton Morrell College go to: www.wcg.ac.uk/study

To donate to Amber's fundraising go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amber-bence1