TOTNESIANS continued the town’s orange chasing tradition on Tuesday.
Organised by Totnes’ Elizabethan society, the annual Orange Races celebrate the day Devon legend Sir Francis Drake visited Totnes and knocked over a basket of oranges, sending them rolling down Fore Street chased by the locals. The event was recorded in a poem by the son of the mayor of Newfoundland in 1615.
The races, which have taken place in Totnes for nearly 40 years, allow people of all ages to participate.
The rules are strict. Competitors must throw or kick their orange along the 450 metre course from the Market Square. The orange must be at least partially intact by the finish.
In the past even celebrities have joined in on the action. Actors Will Mellor and Rory McGrath took part in 2012’s races.
Participants are advised to be careful as they dash after their fruit along the road, and thankfully all finished safely.
Success in the competition is all about skill and tactics. One runner said: “You should roll it, because if you throw it, the orange breaks up, and it's harder to run downhill."
An event organiser said that it was great to see such a high level of participation and excitement surrounding the event.
The event, like cheese-rolling elsewhere in the UK, has become a symbol of British, and Devonian sporting eccentricity.