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A sport race is a competition of speed, against an objective criterion, usually a clock or to a specific point. 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 to reach a specific goal.
A race may be run continuously from start to finish or may be made of several segments called heats, stages or 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.
Forms of racing
Running a distance is the most basic form of racing, but races may be conducted in vehicles, such as boats, cars and aircraft, or with animals such as horses or dogs. Other forms of racing are by cycle, skis, kicksled, skates or wheelchair. In a relay race members of a team take turns in racing parts of a circuit or performing a certain racing form.
The word race comes from a Norse word. This Norse 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). The word race to mean a "contest of speed" was first recorded in the 1510s.
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