Lauren Del Valle from WBNG Around the Tiers Phillip Ginter from Ross Park Zoo and Matthew Gawors from Confluence Running Around the Tiers

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Around the Tiers Interview: "Loop the Lemur" Endurance Challenge: Running for Conservation at the Ross Park Zoo


This Saturday, Ross Park Zoo, in partnership with Confluence Running, will host the annual "Loop the Lemur" Endurance Challenge. This unique event offers a perfect blend of physical challenge and wildlife conservation, set against the backdrop of one of America's oldest zoos.

Event Insights from the Organizers:

In a recent interview on WBNG’s "Around the Tiers," Phillip Ginter, Executive Director of Ross Park Zoo, alongside Matthew Gawors, President & CEO of Confluence Running, shared their enthusiasm for the upcoming event. "This weekend, folks from Confluence Running are hosting our annual Loop the Lemur event so people will get a chance to come see Russo and Manabi as they're looping the course at the Ross Park Zoo," Ginter explained.

Matthew Gawors elaborated on the inception of the event, "One of our previous employees, Elizabeth, really wanted to put on an event to bring attention to the endangered species of the ring-tailed lemur...and she said maybe we can partner with the Ross Park Zoo and do a loop around the lemur enclosure."

Event Details for Participants and Spectators:

The "Loop the Lemur" event is designed to cater to a wide range of participants, from seasoned ultra-marathoners to families looking for a leisurely walk. "It is open to everyone. So the sixth hour, if you're ready for six hours on your feet, you're ready to go," Gawors noted. He also highlighted the inclusivity of the event, "Walking is OK. We do have a team event as well where the more participants within the team and the more miles that they do is who wins."

For those not racing, the zoo will open its gates at 8:00 AM for spectators. "The gates will open at 8:00 and all of our animals will be out by 9, and admission for spectators is only $5," Ginter added, emphasizing the family-friendly nature of the event.

A Closer Look at the Lemurs and Conservation Efforts:

During the interview, the focus also turned towards the conservation efforts for lemurs. "Lemurs are only found in Madagascar, they are endangered," Ginter stated, stressing the importance of the event in raising awareness and support for these animals. "It's a great opportunity to come out and learn a bit more about lemurs and about the Ross Park Zoo."

Community Impact and Engagement:

The event not only raises awareness but also strengthens community ties. "From previous events, we have a volunteer who drives about two hours to come and volunteer at all our events who got exposed to us through Loop the Lemur," Ginter shared, highlighting the long-lasting impact of the event beyond the day itself.

Join the Challenge:

Registrations for the "Loop the Lemur" challenge remain open. Gawors advises, "They can go onto and if they Google 'loop the lemur,' we are the first thing that comes up that takes you right to registration as well."


The "Loop the Lemur" Endurance Challenge at Ross Park Zoo is more than just a race; it's a powerful initiative that combines the excitement of sports with critical conservation efforts. As Gawors and Ginter concluded their interview, their invitation was clear: join them in making a stride for conservation while enjoying a unique day out at the zoo.

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