Already the Queen’s Baton Relay route is underway. For those not familiar with this concept, the baton route relay was first initiated by the Queen before the Cardiff games in 1958. In her role as the head of the Commonwealth, the current relay was launched last year, with a message from Her Majesty placed inside the baton to be read out at the opening ceremony in Glasgow on 23rd July when the battle commences.
As we speak, the baton is in Africa and will tour 70 nations and territories. Ah! I hear you ask…are there 70 countries in the Commonwealth? No. There are not. There are actually 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations (it seems the Gambia recently withdrew).
But there are 70 teams participating in the Commonwealth Games in their own individual rights; Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are all competing separately.
The UK route of the England leg of the Queen’s Baton relay begins in Manchester on 31 May, and encompasses the whole country, including the South West, where avid supporters of the Games and all things sporting, AC Services (Southern) will be awaiting the baton holders, and providing both vocal and practical support.
The final route is as follows:
31 May – Manchester and Congleton
1 June – Sheffield
2 June – Birmingham
3 June – Plymouth and Bristol
4 June – Southampton
5 June – Kent
6 June – Oxford
7 and 8 June – London
9 June – Suffolk
10 June – Leicester
11 June – Hull
12 June – Leeds
13 June – Tyneside and Northumberland.
The eight-month relay will cover 190,000 km before it reaches Scotland in the weeks before the 20th games. And unlike the Olympic Torch, one, and only one baton is used. Well, it carries the Queen’s message . . . it’s probably a treasonable offence to tamper with it.
According to Peter Murphy from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF): “The baton is transported by every method of transport from quad bike to camel. It is the longest relay and the biggest logistical event.” Past baton bearers have included Roger Bannister, David Beckham and the legendary Scottish sprinter Allan Wells.
Let the Games Begin
The Olympics brought a new spirit and attitude to the great British perception of supporting sport; as one lucky enough to be in the Olympic stadium two years ago to watch Usain Bolt achieve dazzling gold, I will be mesmorised to the television over the summer and will join AC Services in supporting the relay runners.
“The Commonwealth Games is an event to look forward to with pride and anticipation,” comments Helen at AC Services. “We anticipate a busy time, servicing and maintaining our clients’ appliances to ensure that catering for the masses lining the streets to see the baton relay is smooth and effortless.”
4,500 athletes will be competing for 261 medals in 17 sports, held in 14 venues around Glasgow and beyond. Let the Games begin!