Three members of a Union Mills family have raised nearly £3,500 so far for a wildlife charity after finishing the London Marathon.
Renee Berber and her children Ross and Kelly completed the 26.2-mile distance last Saturday to raise money for Save the Rhino International, with 23-year-old Ross running under the weight of a 10 kilogram rhino costume.
The idea to run as a family was the brainchild of 49-year-old Renee, who was born in Zimbabwe and moved to the Isle of Man in 1989 ahead of the birth of her children. After a spell in London the family returned to the Isle of Man in 2010.
Mrs Berber said: ‘My family owns a game reserve in Botswana, and my son was a gamekeeper at a reserve in South Africa for two years, so we have a serious interest in conservation.
‘I also turn 50 this year and I wanted to take on a big challenge, so we decided as a family to do the London Marathon together.’
Ross was one of 15 runners who took on the marathon in one of the rhino suits which were supplied by Save the Rhino International and have become one of the most famous costumes to appear in the annual event.
Made up of a solid plastic torso and separate head, the heavy ensemble is suspended on a runner using a built-in harness.
Mrs Berber ran alongside her son during his epic challenge: ‘The rhino costume weighed over 10 kilos and there was only a small gap between the head and the body for him to see out of, but he did so well. He couldn’t walk for a few days after the marathon as he had such big blisters on his feet, but he’s recovered now and is planning on taking part in the Race the Sun event for the Children’s Centre.’
Despite the hardship, Renee said that the experience was ‘amazing’: ‘It was the most beautiful spring day, the atmosphere was incredible and the crowds were fantastic. We’ve already started planning our next family challenge - we’re going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.’
To donate, visit their JustGiving page at http://tinyurl.com/kn2n5ur