Whoever said that only horses can take part in races?
How do these races even happen, you ask? The rules are pretty simple. There is a circular track of about a radius of 13 or 14 inches—which is normally a damp cloth on a table top—and air-breathing land snails are placed in the middle of it. There is certainly nothing cuter than the sight of little snails having numbers painted or tagged with numbers on their backs. Basically, the snail which finishes first is dubbed as the Fastest Snail in the World.
This event started in Congham, Norfolo in the ‘60s, this competition has been going on for decades in Europe (more specifically in the United Kingdom), but it’s slowly getting popular all over the world. Ever heard of the snail Sydney and Archie? They were two of the best snails that have participated in the race, and they’re the ones that probably motivate the snail owners of competitions to come.
This year, the World Snail Racing Championship will happen once again on July 16, 2011 at the cricketfield in the village of Congham, United Kingdom. “Congham is to snail racing what Newmarket is to horse racing,” explained Hilary case, the event organizer.
People who wish to participate will only need to follow the simple rules: bring their snail to the venue, have it registered, and have patience—lots of it, because they should know that they’re going to be there for quite a while. An estimate of 300 snails will be vying for the Fastest Snail in the World title, which they would have to earn by taking up the challenge of go around a 13-inch course. The time to beat this year was made by Archie who, in 1995, finished the whole course in two minutes; and Heiki, the current champion who got the time of 3 minutes and 28 seconds.
In London, the Guinness Gastropod Championship happened in 1991, having a famous commentator. This would seem very strange, for in terms of adrenaline and action, there isn’t really much to witness. However, people have gone crazy over this, and they have also considered this kind of race so much better than all the wild horse races that make people go berserk over snail action. With a slogan of “good things come to those who wait” for a past campaign, this could certainly be considered as one of the most adorable things ever, but don’t think these slugs and their owners are not taking these things seriously—none of them are going down without a fight.
There is someone called the “Snail Trailer,” too. Neil Riseborough is the one who sees to it that there is order in the competition–the one who sees to it that there is no cheating happening and there are no illegal substances taken by any of the slugs. The winner will receive a silver tankard with lettuce. So for the ones who wish to be part of this event, the event encourages you with three words: Ready, steady, Slow!