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Chariots of Fire relay race in Cambridge rerouted mid-run after suspected grenade is pulled out of the River Cam

The Chariots of Fire relay run was rerouted mid-run this morning when a magnet fisherman found a suspected grenade in the River Cam.

It meant the section at Trinity College had to be closed off, with runners sent up and down Garret Hostel Lane instead.

Chariots of Fire in 2019. Picture: David Johnson
Chariots of Fire in 2019. Picture: David Johnson

An announcement over the tannoy told shocked runners taking part in the iconic charity relay run this morning that explosives had been found.

A further announcement indicated that it was the latest find from magnet fishermen, who have pulled out grenades from the Cam several times in the last couple of years.

The race organiser, HCR Hewitsons Charitable Trust, reacted swiftly, ensuring the annual fundraising run could continue while police assessed the find.

Speaking as runners continued on the course, Sarah Head, from the organisers, told the Cambridge Independent: “It was during the race that it was discovered. They shut the gates at Trinity, but it is absolutely fine. The runners are continuing.

“In 29 years, I think it is a first!”

With Trinity College closed off to visitors, a Royal Logistics Corp bomb disposal unit was called and it was confirmed that the device was a replica number five grenade used for training during the First World War. It was removed by the unit.

The incident could reopen debate about the potential dangers of magnet fishing.

In April, an artillery shell was pulled out the river by a magnet fisherman, while in March a controlled explosion was carried out by the bomb squad after a kayaker found a grenade in the Cam in Cambridge.

In July 2020, a 13-year-old also pulled an unexploded grenade from the river.

Chariots of Fire takes a 1.7-mile route through the city centre and two University of Cambridge colleges. Teams of six take part, passing the baton to one another on Queens’ Green.

The charitable recipient of this year’s race is East Anglian Air Ambulance. The race, named after the famous film, which featured Trinity College, dates back to 1992.

Look out for our gallery of images from the run later - and don’t miss our special picture supplement in the Cambridge Independent, out on Wednesday.

You can read our full guide to the race here.

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Chariots of Fire 2021: Our (almost) essential guide to the Cambridge charity relay race

River manager says magnet fishing putting a strain on Cam Conservancy activities

Magnet fisher who pulled artillery shell out of River Cam says it was in a ‘vulnerable’ state

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