Outside Edge

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The Independent Online

Life begins at 39, it seems. Sarah Booth of Harrogate set herself 40 challenges to complete in the year leading up to her 40th birthday. This has included running 1,033 miles in total including the gruelling Marathon des Sables – 126 miles across the Sahara desert – as well as taking up karate, yoga, surfing and orienteering. She also took her first coach trip (that must have been tough), and wore a dress for the first time in 30 years. Meanwhile Sir Stirling Moss says drivers should retake their tests at 70, 75 and 80. It should be added that the British motor-racing legend, now 79, was fined in 1989 for driving too slowly down the M4, having taken his 50cc moped for a spin.


Age of Britain's longest-serving football manager, Bobby Williams of St Helena Bobs in the Portsmouth Premier League. He has been in charge for 47 years and has won 340 trophies. At 67, Fergie has some catching up to do.

Slippery customers of the week

Talking of age-old traditions, sad news from Harbourne, Birmingham where the donkey derby has been stopped on health and safety grounds. This comes hard on the hooves of the ban on donkey basketball in the States because of animal cruelty. But Outside Edge would like to see the return of a great English version of skittles called conger coddling. Since the early 1970s, members of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute stood on wooden blocks in Lyme Regis harbour and punters swung five-foot-long dead eels attached to ropes to try to knock them over. It was abandoned in 2006 after animal rights protesters complained. Talk about a slap in the face with a wet fish.

Good week for

Chloe Chambers, Wimbledon ball-girl who knocked up with Tommy Haas on Court One in front of a crowd of 10,000... SSV Markranstadt, German Division Five football team received €100m investment from Red Bull... Open 60 Aviva, Dee Caffari's all-female crew smashed the record for the Round the Island race.

Bad week for

Alex Bogdanovic, Briton lost in first round at Wimbledon for eighth time in a row... Gareth Blacker, head of Olympic Legacy Directorate suspended over a £100m "hole" in London 2012 accounts... and Mathieu Bastareaud, France's rugby centre admits broken eye socket and heavy bruising were caused by drunken fall in a hotel room, not a street assault in Wellington as he claimed earlier.

Dirty tactics of the week

Football fans are used to that sinking feeling, and being deep in the mire with their other halves. So this weekend why not head for the Swamp Soccer World Championships in Argyll on the west coast of Scotland where 50 teams get up to their waists in waste, among them Real Mudrid, Mudchesthair United and, er, Cowdungbeath. It's a good warm-up for next weekend's World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. And if the WAGs are feeling left out, there's always Barbie Foot – a new pink table football set designed by Chloe Ruchon in which all the figurines have been replaced by Barbie Dolls. Barbie Charlton is the one with the comb-over.