Olympic Flame route through Cambridge revealed

James Redburn 20 March 2012

A re-creation of the Great Court Run in Trinity College and a nationally unique section of travel on a punt are the highlights of the Olympic Flame’s route through Cambridge, as details of its 70-day route through the United Kingdom were announced yesterday.

The Flame will arrive in Cambridge on Day 50, the 7th of July, and will depart the following morning, Sunday 8th July. Speaking to Cambridge News, Rod Cantrill, executive councillor for arts and sport on Cambridge City Council said: “It will be a truly historic moment – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us all to embrace the Olympic spirit and get involved in celebrating everything for which it stands.”

After arriving from Newmarket, the Flame will begin its route through Cambridge on the evening of the 7th of July, when it will be carried west along Newmarket Road before turning onto Barnwell Road and Brooks Road at around 6pm. It will then turn onto Mill Road to make its approach towards the city centre.

The Torch will then be carried through the crowds on Parker’s Piece to its Celebration Stage as part of Cambridge City Council’s Big Weekend. Cambridge is one of 66 UK locations which will be holding an evening’s entertainment for the torch so there will be a programme of events preceding the flame’s arrival, organised by the local council and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

The events will be free and feature locally programmed entertainment including live bands, displays, market stalls, themed activities and fireworks. In addition, there will be a spectacular carnival-style procession, which will be the culmination of a four-month community arts project, ‘A Field For Dreams’, celebrating the key Olympic and Paralympic themes of equality, diversity, peace and a healthy environment.

Of particular interest is the route that the Torch will take on Sunday morning. It will be carried on the famous Great Court Run in Trinity College, which was featured in the 1981 film, Chariots Of Fire. The Great Court Run involves attempting to run around Trinity’s Great Court within the length of time that it takes the College clock to strike the hour of twelve, including the preparatory chiming of the four quarters and the two sets of twelve (the clock strikes each hour twice). This gives between about 43 and 44.5 seconds to complete 370 metre-long course. According to the college website, “It is traditional for athletically-inclined members of Trinity to attempt the run every year at noon on the day of the Matriculation Dinner.”

The run already boasts an Olympic connection. LOCOG chair and former Olympic gold medal-winning middle distance runner Sebastian Coe beat Steve Cram in a 1988 re-creation of the run for charity – neither athlete however beat the clock.

Upon leaving Trinity, the Flame will be taken down the river Cam on a punt, disembarking by Magdalene Bridge.

Jamie Cameron, a student at Magdalene College, said that this was “a great idea that will bring the excitement of the Olympics to the people of Cambridge”.

The Flame will depart the city northwards, down Magdalene Street then Castle Street and Huntingdon Road before making its way through the nearby towns of St Ives and Huntingdon.

Of the 8000 people who will carry the torch nationwide, there will be 15 torchbearers in Cambridge including featured torchbearers, Neil Adams, and Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka.

Neil, 26, from Earith in Cambridgeshire, has Down’s Syndrome but he has still managed to achieve a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Tang Soo Do and has won a gold medal in the martial art at the World Championships. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Tanya, also 26, is an alumna of Darwin College, Cambridge, where she read for an MPhil in Modern Society and Global Transformations. Her goal “is that all young people learn foreign languages and have the opportunity to study volunteer or work abroad to strengthen the global connections between communities”.

Speaking to The Cambridge Student, Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said: “”I am absolutely delighted that Cambridge is to play a key part in the Olympics. This is not only a wonderful opportunity for the people of our city to be part of history in the making but also it will generate a wealth of tourism which will bring huge benefits.

“Our city prides itself on its diversity and the torch relay will bring together all the communities of Cambridge. Our torchbearers are also testament to the energy and vibrancy of our city. Neil Adams and Steve Storey have failed to let their disabilities stand in their way, proving an inspiration by what they have achieved. And Cambridge University graduate, American born Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka is representative of our multi-cultural city which benefits greatly from its mix of nationalities.

“I am confident that Cambridge’s links with the Olympics will bring benefits which will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

James Redburn