LONDON – An international delivery service is turning to a team of runners to beat the London Olympics crush.
With close to 5 million visitors expected for the July 27 to Aug. 12 games — along with stringent security measures and special Olympic lanes reserved for athletes and employees — getting around is expected to be a challenge. So German express delivery service DHL is enlisting London-based JogPost's team of foot couriers to help make sure packages get to their recipients on time.
JogPost co-founder JJ Harding described his 400-odd roster of largely part-time runners as "congestion-busters."
"During Olympic chaos and gridlock, we'll still be able to get crucial documents to business," he said.
The capital's transport infrastructure has been identified as one of the biggest risks to the games' smooth running. DHL said in a statement announcing the deal Saturday that traffic was expected to increase along London's core routes by 30 percent.
Harding said that his uniformed runners, whose speed varies between 3 and 8 miles an hour, would have an edge over London's ubiquitous bicycle couriers.
"We're able to do long-distance delivery much faster with public transport. Bikes can't go on trains," he said. Some routes, like London's Rotherhithe tunnel, are inaccessible to cyclists.
Harding described his joggers as mainly contract workers — anything from students to semi-professional soccer players — and suggested that they would leave feats of endurance to the Olympians.
"They generally run somewhere between five or six miles a day," he said of his crew. "Obviously we don't want them running half marathons every day."