A race is a competition of speed, against an objective criterion, usually a clock. The competitors in a race try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time. Typically this involves traversing some distance, but it can be any other task involving speed.

Running a distance is the most basic form of racing, but races are often conducted in vehicles, such as boats, cars and aircraft, or with animals such as horses.

A race may be run continuously from start to finish or may be made of several segments called heats or stages (stages are also known as legs). A heat is usually run over the same course at different times. A stage is a shorter section of a much longer course or a time trial.

Early records of races are evident on pottery from ancient Greece, which depicted running men vying for first place. A chariot race is described in Homer's "Iliad".

Types of racing

Unassisted human racing

Using only the human body's own muscles:
* Running:
** Cross country running
** Marathon
** Road running
** Track running in Athletics
** Fell running
** Relay Race
* Amateur Radio Direction Finding
* Orienteering
* Rogaining
* Racewalking
* Swimming

Cycle racing

Bicycle racing:
* Track cycling, such as a Points race
* Road bicycle racing, such as the Tour de France
* Mountain (offroad) cycling
* BMX (Bicycle Motocross)

Ski racing

Skiing with skis, on snow:
* Alpine skiing such as Slalom skiing or Downhill skiing
* Cross-country skiing

Animal racing

Animals alone, or with human riders on the animal's back or in a conveyance:
* Camel racing
* Dog racing
** Greyhound racing
** Dogsled racing, such as the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
* Horse-racing, see also United Kingdom horse-racing and Equestrianism
** Chariot racing
** Flat racing
** Thoroughbred horse races, such as Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing or a Derby.
** Trotting
** Steeplechase
* Pigeon racing
* Pig racing
* Ostrich racing
* Snail racing

Aircraft racing

* Air racing

Motorized racing (motorsport)

Machines powered by motors, on land:
* Auto racing (also known as "automobile racing", "motor racing" or "autosport")
**Board track racing
** Drag racing
*** NHRA+
**** Powerade Drag Racing Series
**** Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series (Sportsman)
**** Summit Racing Series (E.T Drag Racing Series)
**** Jr Drag Racing League (JDRL)
**** NOPI Drag Racing Series
*** Sand Drag Racing
*** International Hot Rod Association (IHRA)
** Dirt track racing
** Grand Prix motor racing
** Ice racing
** Open wheel racing
*** A1 Grand Prix
*** Champ Car
*** Formula One, Formula Ford, GP2 Series (Replacement for Formula 3000)
*** Indy Racing League
*** Midget car racing
*** Sprint car racing
** Offroad racing
*** Motocross
**** Supercross
**** Beachcross
** Production car racing
** Rally racing
*** European Rallycross
*** SCCA RallyCross
** Road racing
** Sports car racing
** Stock car racing
*** Arena Racing USA
** Touring car racing
** Truck racing
*** NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
* Kart racing
* Lawnmower racing
* Motorcycle racing
** Tarmac (aka Road Racing)
*** Grand Prix motorcycle racing
*** Pocketbike Racing
*** Production Bike Racing
*** Superbike racing
*** Track Racing
**** Flat Track
**** Speedway
**** Grasstrack (aka Long Track)
**70% Tarmac 30% Off Road
***Supermoto (aka Supermotard)
* All-terrain vehicle
* Snowmobile racing

Boat racing

Boats on water:
* Drag boat racing
* Dragon boat racing
* Hydroplane racing
* Jet sprint boat racing
* Offshore powerboat racing
* Outrigger Canoe racing
* Rowing
* Sailing or yacht racing also match race such as America's Cup races or team racing.

Other types

Some races involve multiple modes of transport:
*Adventure racing
*Kinetic sculpture racing


The word "race" comes from a Viking word. This Viking word arrived in France during the invading of Normandy and gave the word "raz" which means "swift water" in Brittany, as in a mill race; it can be found in "Pointe du Raz" (the most western point of France, in Brittany), and "raz-de-marée" (tsunami).

A race and its name are often associated with the place of origin, the means of transport and the distance of the race. As a couple of examples, see the Dakar Rally or the Athens marathon.

External links

* [] - Covers all the major Grand Prix motorsport championships, including Formula One, MotoGP, Nascar, IRL, WSBK, WRC Rally and many more.

See also

* Pace race
* Sport
* Gambling
* Totalisator
* Pacemaker
* Nuclear arms race
* Space Race
* Racing game
* Surf lifesaving

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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