Marathon Mondays: Gorillas Invade Eugene Marathon

By Marisa Woloszyn Apr. 13, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene Marathon is less than three weeks away and the final preparations have already begun. One local company has been a sponsor of the marathon weekend since the beginning.

KEZI Photo

Gorilla Capital started 10 years ago, the same time the first Eugene Marathon was set to take off. The new company wanted to get involved with the inaugural event by providing the mile markers along the race routes.

“I’m up there with other Gorilla Capital employees at 4:30 in the morning, setting up those mile markers,” says John Helmick, Gorilla Capital CEO.

But there’s a little more to it

“There’s little dots on the roadway. And in fact because we have to do it in the dark, the night before, the day before, we go out with utility flags and we put them in the ground. I also have a GPS because in the morning it’s not so easy to find those dots that are on the curb every mile,” Helmick said.

With the name Gorilla Capital it’s not a coincidence that you’ll also find a few gorillas along the race route.

“We asked the kids if they’d do a banana stop and we said ‘oh by the way we have these 10 gorilla costumes, would you like to wear them?’ and boy do they ever like to wear them. They start climbing trees and having fun. You give high school kids a banana and a gorilla costume and watch out,” Helmick said.

The gorillas, or the South Eugene Cross Country Team, hands out around 1000 bananas each year. You can find them roaming around near mile eight.

For more information about this year’s Eugene Marathon weekend click here.

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