Corpus Christi held its annual tortoise fair with Regent’s Park Emmanuelle and Corpus Christi’s Oldham emerging victorious.
Tortoise races involve the animals being placed inside a ring of lettuce, with the first to reach the ring being the winner. The first race was abandoned due to some tortoises false-starting and a lack of “excitement” during the race.
The second race, however, was much more successful. One of the Corpus tortoises, Oldham, soon made a break for the finish line, while the other tortoises were seemingly more intent on eyeing each other at the start position.
Oldham quickly won the race, with Regent’s Park coming second. However, there was controversy caused when the St Cross tortoise assaulted the Christ Church tortoise.
Both of the tortoises were male, so it is uncertain the exact nature and intent behind the assault.A Christchurch onlooker described the incident as “an emotional rollercoaster-ride”.
This year saw more tortoises competing than in past years, with 8 colleges being represented, and Corpus Christi themselves providing 2 tortoises, Oldham and Foxe, named after the two college founders.
A second race involving 2 human tortoises and one inanimate model tortoise took part. In order to compensate for the significant speed advantage that humans have, the human competitors were forced to eat an entire iceberg lettuce before starting the race. As a result, the Regent’s Park tortoise won the race.
Blue Peter did a feature on the tortoise fair in the past and were back this year to celebrate anniversary.
They were on hand to film the event, and Oldham will race on the programme against Shelley, the Blue Peter tortoise, on the 12th May.
The Regent’s Park tortoise, allegedly celebrating its 100th birthday this year, is “glad” to be back on Blue Peter, having previously appeared on the show in 1975.
JCR President Preet Dhillon commented on the event, “It was very exciting having Blue Peter in Corpus! They filmed a tortoise race in the 1970s and we were thrilled they wanted to come back. The excitement was both from Corpuscles and the kids who came to watch the race. We had fellows come with their kids as well so it was a really good event for Corpus.”
The race was just one of the events making up the tortoise fair – the whole day included a barbeque, Morris Dancers, various bands, stalls and a children’s bouncy castle.
Katie Doig, the Corpus Christi tortoise keeper was “very pleased with how the day was going”, and was glad that so many tortoises could take part in the event.