Racing has a number of different forms, including foot, horse, dog, airplane, boat, car, motorcycle, and bicycle. The object in any kind of racing is to win. Being the fastest is what makes the champion. Coming in second normally doesn’t count.
We know from old painted pottery that the foot race was a popular event with the ancient Greeks. Today there are both outdoor and indoor forms of foot racing. The most common forms of racing are the sprints, hurdles and relays. Distances of the races vary. The first race marathon in modern times was organized in 1896. It was approximately 34km in distance. Today, the marathon is around 38km. The very first Olympic marathon for women was held in 1928. Today, there are different types of marathons, usually organized by a specific charity, such as breast cancer, within a city.
Horse racing has also been around for centuries. The Egyptians and ancient Romans had a fascination for chariot racing. It continues to this day, although it is referred to as buggy and horse racing. There is also thoroughbred racing, with a trained rider (a jockey) on a saddle on the horse’s back. One of the most popular forms of horse racing in the USA is the Triple Crown, made up of three separate races in different locations: The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. There are also races in which the horses must jump over obstacles set up on a measured track.
Bike racing is an Olympic sport today. The very first known race was held in Paris in 1865. There are many forms of bicycle racing today, including on and off-road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cycle speedway. One of the best-known races is the Tour de France. An American cyclist, Lance Armstrong, has won this event seven times.
Automobile racing began in 1894 and has continued in various forms up until the present. The races usually depend on the distance traveled in particular types of cars. There is the stock car, drag, rally, off-road, sports car racing, Formula One (NASCAR) and many other types of racing. While distance is a big factor in racing, speed is usually still the most important factor. The fastest speed recorded at the Indianapolis 500 was achieved by Eddie Cheever in 1996 when his race car reached 379km per hour.
Motorcycle racing is a very popular sport, and, like automobile racing, it comes in a variety of forms, including drag, sidecar, and supercross. There is also motocross racing, a beginner level sport. WERA is the national organization for the advanced, operation and sanctioning of motorcycle road racing. WERA sponsors sprint and distance races too.
The first aircraft race was held in 1909, six years after the Wright Brothers flew the very first airplane. It was held in Reims, France, and covered the distance from England to France. A race from England to Australia was instituted later, with most of the participants being commercial airliners. It was discontinued after the outbreak of World War II. In the USA, the National and Cleveland Air Races were initiated in the 1920s. In 1929, the Women’s Air Derby was created as part of the National Air Races. Today the Red Bull Air Race World Series is held yearly. It features eleven pilots who compete against time on two passes over the designated course.
Boats and ships have long been used as racing vehicles. There have been some unusual races as well. A city on Vancouver Island uses bathtubs in racing events. Depending on the type of propulsion used, aquatic races vary in speed and time.