The 2019 World Snail Racing Championships will take place in Norfolk this month. The quirky annual event is part of Congham’s village fete and is open to anyone, young or old.
More than 200 snails slug it out every year in the championships, which, believe it or not, have been running since the 1960s.
The races are held on top of a table, which has a special damp cloth spread out on it to help the snails’ movement. The cloth is marked with three concentric circles, and the competing snails are placed in the middle. The first one to reach the outer circle is the winner.
The races are started by a shout of “ready, steady, slow”; and during the race, the snail ‘trainers’ are often heard shouting words of encouragement to their prize snails.
Anyone, young or old, can take part in the World Snail Racing Championships, and competitors may bring their own snails from their gardens if they wish (only UK garden snails are permitted to take part). Snails are given a race sticker with a number on it, for identification purposes, and the snail trainers are encouraged to attend in fancy dress.
The championship heats are held throughout the afternoon, with a grand final at the end. The winner receives a silver tankard stuffed with lettuce leaves for the triumphant snail.
Congham Fete helps to raise money for the 13th century St Andrew’s Church and usually features games, stalls and refreshments.
When: 20th July 2019
Where: The cricket field at Congham, near King’s Lynn, Norfolk (nearest postcode PE32 1AH)
More info: www.snailracing.net