Varsity Live does Jailbreak 2013!

11:00 (Alice): Another update from Sam, apparently she’s spend the day wandering about Bordeaux and eating sandwiches and being insulted for the poor quality of her French speaking… They’re also spending night 2 on the floor of yet another airport – and Sam may be getting a little fed up with one particular snoring team-mate.

In other news Wei and Alice (Team 19) have been declared the winners of this year’s Jailbreak having made it all the way to Australia! Although a quick read of Alex Marshal’s views on corporate sponsorship of pairs suggests he might not approve of this particular method for reaching the other side of the world.

10:00 (Alice): Sam Hunt and team have arrived in Bordeaux!

01:50 (Luke): Further update from Team Varsity – Sam’s hoping for three hours of sleep  on a wooden bench in Gatwick before catching an early morning flight. Meanwhile, I am now off to sleep. In my bed. Which I am not smug about at all. More tomorrow.


Text from Samantha Hunt at 9pm

“On the train to Gatwick!! Got to say, feeling so much better about not spending all the charity money today – the only charity money we are spending is £200 out of the £1200 we have raised as a group of 4, which is slightly annoying but I guess it is justified by saying we couldn’t have raised the £1000 without spending the £200. Oh money troubles. X”

And at 10pm


Good luck Sam and team!

3:30 (Luke): Stepping away from the computer for a few minutes now, but if you see something, tell us! If you get updates from teams (or you are a team), send it to, or tweet us @VarsityLive.

3:00 (Alice): Team 3 are in Calais and Team 12 are on there way to Krakow, so the race is now officially on. Typically the teams that are going for hitch-hiking trains and so forth do very well at the start of the challenge as it’s a lot easier to get going quickly that way. However those who are stayed in Cambridge to raise more money or stopped to fund raise in London have a lot better change of getting onto a plane going somewhere further afield… So it depends which way you’ve gambled at this point. Expect a flurry of updates this evening as the people still in the UK attempt to blag plane tickets somewhere exotic.

1:00 (Alice): Just been into town and a quick wizz round the centre reveals there are still quite a few teams fundraising in Cambridge before clearly trying to get further this afternoon… Not nearly as many as this morning though. Twitter also suggests that quite a few people are already well on their way with reports of tickets to Dover and one couple claiming they’d been given money by the Archbishop of Canterbury (I’m assuming they bumped into Rowan Williams?)

1238 (Luke): News! A text to the Varsity hotline from team 114 – Sophie and Maria – who are currently at St John’s. I suppose that’s probably where the money is…

1137 (Luke): One Twitter user referring to Jailbreak participants as “twatbadgers”. That… that is a new one.

1050 (Luke): It would appear that at least one County Councillor also wants to escape Cambridge (or at least wants the students concerned to leave, sharpish).



1039 (Luke): According to the RAG map, one team is currently in Sydney and another is in Cambridge, MA. Liars, the both of them. (Or, more likely, a map error, but still, LIARS.)

1016 (Luke): Team 106 have just turned up at my door, one of them dressed as a penguin. (If there’s one thing to come out of Jailbreak, it’s that the penguin onesie market is booming). They’ve already encountered the issues discussed in yesterday’s Varsity comment piece by Katerina Pascoulis and Alex Marshall, with one donor questioning them quite strongly on why exactly they should donate to get them abroad. (They did eventually relent and hand over the cash, as did I…)

1010 (Luke): And we have (dodgy cameraphone) video of the start!

1004 (Luke): Our video of the start is just uploading now, here’s some of the people I met this morning on Parker’s Piece:

Joyce and Anders (team 22) decided to go dressed as penguins and have apparently been set several challenges involving Gangnam Style…

Bixi and Qichen (team 36) are dressed as a dragon and a frog respectively and are hoping to make it to London, if not further.

0928 (Luke): The first word of the morning goes to Reece and Harry, who are tweeting @JailbreakRH.

It is ridiculously cold out there this morning – good luck to all the teams racing today, and again, rather you than me. And with that, I’m going to make a cup of tea and switch the radiator on…

0921 (Luke): I’m back from the starting blocks, having run into Team Varsity and a ridiculous number of people in onesies.

Quick thoughts before I upload my dodgy cameraphone shots:

– If you’re like me and have serious issues with people, especially people approaching you and loudly demanding money, then central Cambridge is not the place for you this morning.

– I think we’ve officially reached peak onesie. Will happily commission a piece on why onesies are probably a disadvantage this year.

– The team turning up 20 seconds before the start were probably unwise. Also, I have video evidence.

– So very tempted right now to venture out into Cambridge with a sign that says “Not actually hitch-hiking anywhere” and see if people give me money out of sheer frustration.
More in a bit.

0803 (Luke): Good morning from Cambridge, where a large group of students in ridiculous outfits are about to spend the next 36 hours attempting to beg, borrow and steal their way to some far-flung destination. Alice and I will be blogging progress from inside the bubble, while Sam Hunt will be sending updates from the field, wherever the field may happen to be. We’ll simultaneously be attempting to play geographers, weather forecasters, challenge setters and, in the event of any visa issues, possible international diplomats.

If you’re off on Jailbreak and want to send us updates, send texts and pictures along with your group number and name to 07927 426855 or send an email to And if you’ll be at the “release” on Parker’s Piece, I’ll be the one in the purple Catz Choir hoodie handing out my phone number to large groups of strangers.

It’s going to be a fun 36 hours (well, at least it is for us at home). Let the games begin!