World snail racing championship takes place in UK

Ready, steady, slow! The United Kingdom holds the world snail racing championship (from Reuters video)

ENGLAND, United Kingdom (Reuters) — Snails returned to Congham in Norfolk, eastern England, for the annual celebration of the gastropod games, otherwise known as the World Snail-Racing Championships on Saturday (July 15).

This year’s festivities involved the participation of over 150 snails. The championships have been running since the 1960s and have become ingrained within the culture of this secluded corner of England.

The event takes place at Congham’s cricket ground, which is temporarily converted into a bustling amphitheater for the slimy racers.

The event’s organizer, Neil Riseborough organizes the snails on a circular table, surrounded by the roars of the local crowd. Each race is initiated with his iconic shout of “ready, steady, slow!”

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

The snail that emerges from the fray victorious is granted a silver tankard which is stuffed with a leafy reward of lettuce leaves.

This year’s winner was Larry, owned and trained by Tara Beasley 41, from Castle Acre in Norfolk.

“I kind of entered as a bit of a challenge with my friend and now Larry is a champion,” Beasley said.