After an outbreak of foot and mouth disease caused the cancellation of many British horseracing events in 2001, a new sport was introduced to fill the void: hamster racing.
Created in the United Kingdom, hamster racing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Hamsters are placed in a wheel or ball, which is attached to a mini race car, and they race down a straight 30-foot-long course.
Just like in other racing sports, the hamster that crosses the finish line first wins.
Just like there are specifies breeds of horses and dogs best suited to racing, it turns out some hamster breeds are better racers than others. Due to their speedy pace, Syrian hamsters and Dwarf hamsters are the most popular breeds of race hamsters.
During races, the hamsters are often divided into different race categories based on their experience, coat color, and hair length.
Not surprisingly, the introduction of this sport garnered significant media interest across the United Kingdom. Hamster racing made headlines in some of the biggest newspapers and was reported live on BBC London and Sky News. While its popularity has mainly stayed centered in the United Kingdom, hamster racing is beginning to make headway in the United States and Asia.
In case you're wondering just how fast these little creatures can go, the current world record for completing the 30-foot track is 38 seconds. That's pretty speedy if you ask us!
Start training your little guy! The 2016 races happen all summer at Adventure Valley in Brasside, U.K.