David Hatwell

Run, Rhino, Run!



Aegis Partners with Smithsonian National Zoo on First-Ever 5K to Support Rhino Conservation

Last Saturday I watched a rhinoceros run down Washington, D.C.’s famous Pennsylvania Avenue in sight of the nation’s capital building. OK, it was a runner dressed as a rhino, but it was no less glorious. You see, Aegis partnered with the Smithsonian National Zoo to sponsor an inaugural 5K run to support rhino conservation.

As many of our clients know, the Aegis mascot is the fierce and mighty rhino. That image is initially why we chose the rhino as our mascot. As project controls consultants, we step toward the tough situations, the ones that need help getting on the right path. The rhino appealed to our sense of self as a company that works hard to get the job done right. People that don’t stop when the going gets tough.

Over time, we learned more about the plight of the rhino in the wild. According to the World Wildlife Fund, rhinos are killed every day because of the mistaken belief that their horns cure medical disorders ranging from cancer to hangovers. Today, very few rhinos survive outside national parks and reserves. Poaching, habitat loss, and even political conflict are all threatening the survival of the rhino species. The Javan and Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered, the white rhino is extinct in the wild, and only several thousand black rhinos remain.

We knew we needed to get involved to help save the rhino from extinction. In honor of our 10-year anniversary, Aegis became a corporate sponsor to several organizations that protect rhinos. These organizations are dedicated to the growth and protection of the rhino and works to ensure that this endangered species will roam freely for many generations to come.

While it’s gratifying donating to worthy organizations, we knew we could do more. In 2016 we approached the zoo with a radical idea — let us leverage our planning skills to create an event on behalf of the zoo. In lieu of a traditional corporate sponsor, we asked to be a partner and work hand-in-hand to create a special event. The Friends of the National Zoo were as excited as we were to raise both awareness and money for rhino conservation.

With the zoo’s help, and many other amazing sponsors, our idea came to fruition on August 25, 2018 when approximately 800 runners took to the streets of D.C. for the first-ever “The Fast and The Fierce” 5K Run. Race participants showed up in costumes, with strollers, and with pets, all with the shared goal of helping rhinos in the wild. After the race, runners, wearing their race t-shirts and hats, spent Saturday at the zoo coming face to face with orangutans, elephants and pandas.

The event raised much needed money, earmarked for the Smithsonian’s Conservation Nation. This is a global network of Smithsonian scientists and researchers leading the wildlife conservation charge to help save species. The money raised from the run will help with its rhino conservation efforts throughout the world.

With the zoo’s incredible partnership, we’re already looking forward to making the run an annual event. So lace up your sneakers, and get ready to join us next summer for this great event!