A TORTOISE who belongs to a family play park in Durham City is set to be confirmed as a world record-breaking sprinter.
Bertie, an approximately 15-year-old Leopard tortoise at Adventure Valley in Brasside, covered a Guinness World Records-approved 18ft course in 19.59secs this afternoon.
The current record is 43.7secs, set in 1977.
Bertie’s speed across the ground was about half a mile an hour.
Adventure Valley owner Marco Calzini said he was confident Bertie could do it.
“Since we got him visitors have remarked how fast he is,” Marco added. “He has done similar times in training. I am delighted he performed on the day.”
“Bertie loves going outside for a walk, as soon as we put him down he’s off and running.
“Visitors are always remarking how fast he is. He’s like the Usain Bolt of the tortoise world!”
The record is still to be ratified by Guinness, but staff at Adventure Valley were careful to ensure their attempt met all the regulations.
Architect Anthony Nicholson constructed the course, which must be at a gradient of 1 in 12.
Timekeeping must be done by two people from a recognised sporting institution.
David Dowson and Michael Havelock, both from Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light, both timed one of Bertie’s ‘runs’ at 19.59secs.
A vet from Chester-le-Street was on hand to ensure no tortoises were harmed in the making of the record.
Bertie was given to Adventure Valley three years ago when his owners went to live abroad.