The British leg of the Olympic torch relay kicked off in Cornwall, England on May 19th, but unless the relay schedule is modified, Olympic officials say the torch is currently on pace to arrive in London on October 4th — nearly two months after the 2012 Summer Games will have ended.
"We used the same timeframe that every other Olympic host has used for their torch relay," said London 2012 director Jeremy Beeton. "What we forgot to factor into it is that, well … we British are not what you would call especially 'athletic.' In fact, we are almost impossibly slow. We have been asking our torch carriers to sprint to try to pick up the pace, yet still they aren't as fast as people of other nationalities walking. It's quite pathetic."
During one recent day in which the torch was originally scheduled to travel 15 miles up the western coast of England, it moved just 320 yards down one street despite being carried by six different runners. One sprained his ankle, another took a break for tea, a third died, the fourth runner came down with gout, a fifth runner accidentally set himself on fire, and the final runner had to be treated for severe sunburn due to being out of doors on an unusually sunny day for more than 20 minutes.
"While we're in a bit of a bind with how far the torch currently is from London, in a way this relay has really reminded us all of what it means to be British," said Beeton. "We may not be fast or strong or of hardy stock. We may peaked and wont to illness and disease. But we continue on."
London 2012 officials attempted to make up some of the gap today by driving the torch through the English countryside in a Jaguar, but the car quickly broke down on the side of the road, pushing the relay even farther behind schedule.
"If we can get the torch to London by Christmas, I will be happy," said Beeton. "But I can't promise anything."