Ready, steady, slow! On 21st July, in the village of Congham, Norfolk, the world’s fastest snails will gather to compete in the World Snail Racing Championships. Held every year for more than 25 years, the contest sees everyday garden snails – some painted with fancy stripes, and all sporting a numbered sticker to identify them – race for glory. More than 200 molluscs compete in a series of heats for a place in the prestigious final.
The course is a damp cloth laid on top of a round table. Two concentric circles are marked out and the snails slide from the inner circle to the outer one, a distance of 13 inches. It’s a fast moving contest; it takes around 3 minutes for the snails to complete the distance, and in 1995 the course record was set at just two minutes.
The winning snail receives a prize of a tankard of lettuce leaves.