The word racing evokes different images for different people – horses, cars, athletes or even video games. It is basically a contest of speed. Originating from a Viking word raz, which means “”swift water”” in Brittany, France, participants in a race try to finish a particular task in the shortest amount of time. It may mean getting from one point to anther, or completing a number of laps around a particular course as fast as possible. The earliest records of racing are found in ancient Greece and a description of a chariot race is found in Homer’s Iliad.
Often a race is associated with the place where the race is being held or was first started like the New York marathon. A race usually covers a fixed distance and contestants have to adhere to certain rules laid down by the organizers. While running is the commonest form of racing other popular racing activities are conducted in vehicles like boats, cars or on animals.
While races are usually conducted from point to point, some races may be run in stages or heats. A heat is a race that is run over the same course at different times, while a stage is a short part of a longer race. Cross country running, marathons, road running, track running, swimming, bicycle racing, ski racing are the different kinds of races conducted. Racing involving animals may be done by racing animals alone or with human riders on the animal’s back or in a conveyance like a chariot. Horse-racing, greyhound racing and camel racing are very popular.
Vehicle racing is also popular – aircraft racing or motor racing like the famous Formula One races or the Grand Prix motor racing. Motorcycle racing and boat racing are equally popular.
Racing however is now no longer confined to the physical world. The world of virtual reality has its own racing scene. Computer and video racing games based on real-world racing leagues or totally imaginary settings may vary from hardcore simulations to simpler arcade racing games. Internet championships for such games are now regularly conducted.