Annual run to benefit the Detroit Zoo takes place September 15

ROYAL OAK, Mich., Sept. 12, 2013 – How would humans fare in a race against the Detroit Zoo's animals in Sunday's Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo? Considering that the average person can run 5-8 miles per hour, it's a sure bet most of the wild things would break the tape first.

Take Suren, the Zoo's 5-year-old Bactrian camel, for instance. In a race across the arid Gobi Desert, she could run 100 miles without water with up to 80 pounds of fat stored in her humps to be converted into energy. Maintaining a speed of about 25 mph, Suren would surely leave her human competitor in her desert dust.

In a contest against 8-year-old Nuka the polar bear, even the bracing chill of the Arctic air wouldn't make a mere mortal's mission any more possible. Not only could Nuka move easily through the snow and ice with his dinner plate-sized paws, he could also maintain short bursts of 25 mph and handily nuke his bi-ped challenger.

Human runners wouldn't perform much better against Kisa the Amur tiger (50 mph), Kivuli the giraffe (32 mph) or even Jasiri the white rhinoceros (20 mph).

Not all the Zoo's animals would prove to be such tough opponents. A person could breathe easy in Sunday's 5K run against 21-year-old Homer the two-toed sloth. Even if the slow-moving mammal started the day before the race, his human adversary would have time to watch the awards ceremony, enjoy the post-race party and visit the Zoo before Homer crawled across the finish line at his plodding pace of 0.15 mph.

Humans will have the chance to race against their own species on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo kicks off with a 5K run at 8 a.m., followed by a 10K run at 8:45 a.m. and an untimed 1.5-mile fun walk at 9 a.m. Proceeds from Run Wild benefit the Zoo's Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex and veterinary care.

The clock is ticking, but interested participants can still register for the event outside the Detroit Zoo admission gates on Sept. 13, 14 and 15. For more information, visit

Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo is supported by Ford Motor Company, Kroger, Community Choice Credit Union, Massage Envy, WJR 760 AM, 93.1 Doug FM, 96.3 WDVD and the Southeastern Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (SEMVMA).