Biking through the streets of London? Kayaking around the city? Climbing and abseiling famous buildings and uncovering the sights and sounds of London while battling it out with 1000 other adventurers?
It can only be the Rat Race and this year, the organisers have announced they have gone BIG! The eagerly-anticipated London Rat Race will take place on 29/ 30 September and the event is now open for entries. It promises to be quite a show. The Rat pack have so far been in consultation with 10 different London Boroughs, the Mayor’s Office, the Royal Parks and other organisations for some time now and for the 1000 expected racers, at least 1000 different permissions will be granted by differing organisations to run this event.
This is an extremely daring project and for those that take up one of the places, there is bound to be an amazing experience in store for them. It’s also a defining moment for Adventure Racing – London is a huge city and the opportunity to enter it and run an adventure race within its bounds is unprecedented.
With the event village being built next to Tower Bridge, the course could easily go north, south, east or west across the Capital and in true Rat Race style, it is sure to pack some surprises along the way. Disciplines confirmed include mountain and road biking, kayaking, navigation outdoors AND indoors (!), parkour, rope-work and special stages, including the usual eclectic mixture of checkpoints in all manner of interesting and quirky locations.
Jim Mee, creator of the Rat Race, comments: “Rat Race London peels the concept right back to what the event is all about – exploring your city (or visiting someone else’s) in a manner that is totally unique and seeing it from a totally different perspective. There is an awesome adventure in store for those who come on the journey through London with us; we have found the very best of what lies beneath the surface of the beating heart of the capital. It’s our hometown too – who knows, maybe there will even be a checkpoint in our office. That would be handy! We have been waiting for the right time to do an event in London and with the support of the authorities and Visit London, the tourist board here, we have established a really firm base for getting the very best adventure possible from the city. London is the greatest city on Earth and this event will have a scale truly befitting of its stature.”
Racing around a metropolis the size of London may not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, but the Rat Race is all about using the built and urban environment to race in, over, under and through – and in London there is bags of scope for adventure. The city is often cited for its abundance of parks; the River Thames, canal systems and huge docks offer a plethora of water-borne options and the exciting mixture of old and new architecture in the city is sure to be utilised by the organisers who pride themselves in innovative uses of city spaces for adventure racing!
The organising team includes Gary Tompsett, Race Director of every Rat Race to date and Detail Events’ chief adventure event planner. The man behind the maps for the London event will be top Adventure Racer Champion Nick Gracie – stepping up as course planner in his home town. As well as being a top adventure racer and member of current British Adventure Racing Champions Aberdeen Asset Management, Nick is a born and bred Londoner and he knows the city like the back of his hand.
The prize fund includes £1000’s of Columbia Sportswear and a holiday to the Caribbean twin-island paradise of Trinidad and Tobago for the crowned 2007 Rat Race Series champions. There is also the opportunity for anyone in the event, regardless of team performance, to win an all expenses paid trip to T and T in a random prize draw – to really beat the Rat Race!
The event format remains the same as previous Rat Races with the Mean Streets prologue on Saturday evening being followed by a Sunday all-day event. The organisers are also introducing a new class called Rat Race “The Business” – no change in the action undertaken by teams – but competitors who enter this class will be company teams and will benefit from some further race goodies, fast track registration and the chance to win some special “Business Class” prizes as well as availing of complimentary pre-race smoothies and post-race massages.
Crisis will be the official charity partner of the London event and teams can choose to raise money for them or for Cancer Backup, Rat Race national series partner.
Other partners in the event include Columbia Sportswear as major partner to the Rat race series and Visit London – presenting partner and facilitating many of the permissions required to stage the event.
The Date is set for 29/ 30 September 2007 and entry is already open.