The Bognor Birdman and other uniquely British events
This weekend may see some of the best athletes in the world drawing crowds at the Olympic Stadium, but many devoted fans of another sporting activity will be heading to the 2012 International Bognor Birdman.
Like the Olympics, this annual event is all about humans pushing boundaries – however in this case they launch themselves off the pier in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. The competition involves running off an elevated ramp off the pier and attempting to ‘fly’ as far as possible. This year competitors are in with a chance of winning £15 per second they stay aloft in the air, up to a maximum of 16 seconds. There is always a mix of characters at the event, with flying machines of all shapes and size: past entries have included flying trains, rocket-shaped humans and Mary Poppins’s with umbrellas (very Olympic themed). Contenders from all over the world will take part in the 32nd Birdman this year.
Other quirky events coming up across Britain this month:
World Championship Hen Racing: got a hen? Why not see how fast it can go! You can even hire one for the day.
4 August, Bonsall, Derbyshire
Race The Train: It’s Man vs Machine, and all for charity. The event attracts serious runners from the world over, including New Zealand, Australia, America and Africa. Race the Train takes place alongside the route taken by the Talyllyn Railway on its journey to Abergynolwyn and back.
18 August, Tywyn, Mid Wales
The Garlic Festival: Vampires won’t enjoy this event, where the pungent bulb is king. Cookery demos, live music, children’s entertainment and plenty to eat, all against a backdrop of rolling green hills.
18-19 August, Isle of Wight
Toe Wrestling World Championship: Using just the strength of their toes, contestants must force their challenger’s foot to the ground. The organisers have big intentions for the sport, and applied in 1997 for its inclusion in the Olympic Games. Surprisingly, it was not accepted.
25 August, Ashbourne, Derbyshire
World Gravy Wrestling: One of the more bizarre competitions on the calendar, the North of England is famous for gravy and Lancashire has decided it is the perfect substance to wrestle in. In its 5th year, the event has gained in popularity, with lots of people keen to jump in the paddling pool and get messy.
27 August, Rossendale, Lancashire
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