Ready, steady, slow: Snails slug it out at racing world championship

Ready, steady, slow: Snails slug it out at racing world championship

Snails participating in the racing World Championships in Congham, England
Spectators watch the annual snail racing World Championships in Congham, England. (Photo: Screengrab from Reuters video)

CONGHAM, England: More than 200 snails slugged it out at the annual World Championships, held at the village of Congham in Norfolk on Saturday (Jul 20). 

Running since the 1960s the gastropod games are held on top of a table, which has a special damp cloth spread out on it.

Three circles mark the top, with snails placed around the middle rim which is the starting line. The first one to reach the outer circle wins.

Snails compete in the annual racing world championships
Snails compete in the annual racing world championships in the village of Congham in Norfolk. (Photo: Screengrab from Reuters video)

Competitors can choose to bring their own snails or select one from the organiser's on the day.

The championship heats are held throughout the afternoon, with a grand final at the end with all the various heat winners.

English teacher Maria Welby, from Grantham, Lincolnshire, was crowned winner in in the final when her chosen competitor Sammy crossed the line first.

In 1995, the Guinness World Record was set when a snail called Archie completed the 13-inch (33cm) course in two minutes and 20 seconds.

Sammy completed the feat in two minutes and 38 seconds. 

"I am ecstatic. I went out this morning an ordinary woman and now I'm the owner of a world champion," said Welby, as reported on the event website. 

Snail trainer Neil Riseborough said: "We've had a fantastic day. Racing was amazing, the best for a decade. I felt so excited all the time." 

A total of two hundred and fifteen snails battled it out this year and there were 13 snails in the final.

The Championships are held as part of a local fete and entrants pay 20p for each snail to race. All money raised goes to a local charity.

The next World Championships will be held in July 2020.

Source: Reuters/hs

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