Monday, 14 April 2008

The Steepest Street In The World

New Zealand is home to the steepest public street in the world. Baldwin Street in Dunedin has a gradient of 1 in 2.86 at its steepest section, a 38% grade, and is officially recognised in the Guinness Book of Records. That's steeper than anything on offer in San Francisco, where the steepest two tie for first place and are Filbert between Leavenworth and Hyde; and 22nd Street between Church and Vicksburg, both with a 31.5% gradient.

Most people would moan about it, but Kiwis - always looking for a challenge - have created an adventure out of it. The Baldwin Street Gutbuster sees around 1000 people each year gather to run or even try to skate up and back down the hill. This on a street in which there are signs warning drivers not to attempt to drive up the street! The Hill City Athletic Club devised the Gutbuster, a race divided into two events. The first run is a race attracting serious runners, and covers 400 metres. Running the downhill part is actually more difficult than running up. The second Gutbuster race is for skaters, skateboarders, pram-pushers or just runners and attracts people from all over the world. One American (Dr David Kell) travelled up and down on a unicycle! There's another "buster" run in Dunedin, home to a large community of university students. The "Timebuster" run around the Dunedin Octagon sees participants start at the first chime of 10 o'clock and finish before the clock stops chiming.

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