British Airways Athletics Club: Streets AtoZ Event Instructions
This is a fun competitive event that can be run or walked at
any time during the period specified.
The objective is for each participant to collect a set of letters as a
sequence through the alphabet - the winners being judged on the number of
letters collected and the time or distance covered.
Hint: Although this is to be done competitively some people will have natural
advantages or disadvantages due to the the streets around their starting
locations. For some this event may be a sprint, for others a marathon, and for
some it may prove impossible! Please accept your lot with a smile!
You need to start and finish at either an entrance to your property or
place of work OR the nearest street-sign to that entrance (but note that this
doesn't have to be one of your scoring signs). The objective is to collect as
many different street-sign initial letters as you can in the shortest time or
distance BUT each successive letter must be further down the
The letters are to be collected during a single exercise activity. The
duration of the activity and/or the distance covered should be recorded and
submitted with the letters collected. There is no limit but the shorter the
better for your result. Letters are collected by visiting the street name signs of local streets -
the council maintained signs that identify streets, avenues, roads, paths even in some
cases roundabouts but not places (such as "Welcome to Hillingdon") nor
commercial signs, building names, school signs, church identifiers etc.. Bus
stops that are named with a particular street are also permitted signs.
Hint: Roads usually have their street-sign at the two ends of the road or
where the road crosses a bigger road. It can be difficult, or impossible, to
find a street-sign for some bigger roads!
The preparation time for this event
can also be used to check on Street-View where street-signs are located (but
note, as in this photo, that the street furniture may have moved or been removed since
the street-car visited!)
Participants should get close enough to the street-sign to be able to
take a photograph of it without the benefit of zoom. I'm not encouraging
zigzagging across busy streets so photographs can be taken from
the opposite side of the street. Photographs do not have to be submitted. If you
are not taking photographs then you should tap each sign instead. A GPS trail should be
submitted with your entry or a list of the streets in the order they were visited plus
confirmation of when you got back to your starting position and the distance
In addition to street-signs you are also allowed to score a zebra crossing as
a "Z" and other light controlled pedestrian crossings as an "X". To count as an
"X" the crossing has to have, or be at, traffic lights and must have a button to
press (even if this has no real effect on the sequencing of the lights). No
other substitutions are permitted.
You do not have to start with "A", nor with the letter of the street you
start in. You can start with any letter and precede through the alphabet
skipping letters as you wish. You need to include at least five letters. You do
not have to finish with "Z". There are no letters beyond "Z" (e.g. the alphabet
doesn't repeat). So an example set of length five could be:
- Penny Lane,
- The Long-And-Winding Road,
- Strawberry Fields,
- A Zebra crossing - conveniently located near the start.
Hint: Do some research before your start time and plan your route. Study the AtoZ or an online
map and consider where your nearest letters are. And go for a walk and
understand where the street-signs are and whether any paths or short roads have
interesting names on signs that weren't to be found on the maps. You could even
prepare a physical map to take with you on the run. But please do not do a practice
run, that would give you an unfair advantage.
Having done the run you should then submit to the organiser the street names and
letters collected in the order collected (i.e. alphabetical) and your time and
distance taken to complete the event (i.e. get back to your start). The winner of the event will be determined by the
organiser taking into account the number of letters collected and the time /
distance covered. This will be based on the time taken or distance
covered by the number of letters collected but will favour greater numbers of
letters collected - see below for more details on this. The judge's decision may be hotly contested.
Examples of street name signs are shown in the image below:
So, just to confirm, you have until the closing date to do your activity and
accumulate a set of letters. Email your
entry to the organiser including your activity type (run or walk), the distance
covered, the time
taken, the GPS map and/or the list of streets claimed. Towards the end of the period participants are encouraged to post
photographs, GPS trace of their route and comments on the letters collected on Facebook. But it is
considered unsporting to post a good result early in the event period.
Once all of the results have been verified winners can be announced.
Any questions? Contact the organiser:
Letter Distribution (for interest only)
chart shows the number of streets in London starting with each letter of the
alphabet. This has been estimated from the street index of a copy of the London
Letters marked "*" and "**" are considered rare.