Motorists and business leaders have reacted angrily to the announcement that the M25 motorway is due to close for ONE WEEK in August as Department of Health and Sport officials are organising a fitness event that is being billed as ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race’ that will both encourage healthier lifestyle habits and move people away from relying on their own cars to travel around. The Orbital Commital, a race intended for only those crazy enough to have a go, is due to take place from 1-8 August 2016, and teams of four people are being invited to walk, jog or run the complete 117 miles that make up the second-longest orbital motorway in the world. Although it is hoped that most teams will be able to complete the course within seven days, those who go beyond this time will be allowed to continue on the hard shoulder.
Jeremy Spunkton MP, a senior health minister, met the Chief Reporter to explain more about the race. He said: ‘This is the first time that a government has stepped in to organise anything on this scale, and we are confident that this race will get people off the sofa and into health and fitness. This will also be a once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle a course that is usually reserved exclusively for vehicles, and corporate sponsorship means that there will be a huge variety of prizes on offer for anyone who manages to complete the course. The Orbital Commital is all about sending out the message that this Conservative government is prepared to do whatever it takes to drive down the level of obesity in both adults and children within the United Kingdom, and nothing makes a bigger statement than closing a busy motorway that is used by tens of thousands of motorists every single day.’
He added: ‘By removing this vital road link from Britain’s road map for a whole week to get people competing against each other in this ultimate clockwise test of physical and mental endurance, there will definitely be a level of inconvenience for people, but this will only make our message hit home even harder. Apart from promoting the benefits of using public transport whenever possible, we are also saying that people make way too many journeys in their cars that could be undertaken on foot or by a bicycle. Therefore, we are recommending that drivers should plan alternative routes in advance wherever possible, and this will include using the Blackwall Tunnel while the Dartford Crossing is closed for the big race.’
Full details about how to enter will be announced shortly.