The Oldest Foot Race In The World?
Be a part of history this summer and take part in this 500 year old event...
You are going to be hard pushed to find a race that is as long-established as the one we're about to tell you about. Over 500 years in the making, the Red Hose Race is believed to be the oldest surviving foot race in the world!
Dating from 1508, the Red Hose Race at Carnwath is a race with a pair of red socks as the prize. Originally held around the Feast of St John the Baptist in June, the race has now been absorbed into the Carnwath Agricultural Show in July as part of a much larger event which this year takes place on 29 July.
The 3 mile race is a well-loved local event and organisers were keen to keep the tradition alive. If you're thinking of taking part then you'll have a great day as the show itself has many other attractions including dancing, handicrafts, tug-o-war, music, sheep shearing and of course animal classes.
The race has been held every year except in times of war and during the two Foot & Mouth disease outbreaks in 1926 & 1952, thankfully the outbreak in 2001 was over by the time the race was due to be held. James IV of Scotland granted the lands of Carnwath in 1508 to John Lord Somerville with unusual terms: “Praying thence yearly one pair of hose containing half an ell of English cloth at the feast of St. John the Baptist, called Midsummer, to the man running most quickly from the east end of Carnwath to the cross called Calla Cross.” And so the race was born.
There was probably a military reason for imposing this duty on the owners of the Carnwath Estate, a fast runner could bring news of any approaching invasion from the South to Edinburgh and the red hose would be the insignia by which he would be recognised.
Anyone can enter the race, but only those who are resident within the parishes of Auchengray, Braehead, Carnwath, Carstairs, Covington, Dunsyre, Dolphinton, Elsrickle, Forth, Libberton, Quothquan, Thankerton and Walston can wear red hose socks. Anyone who doesn't live in these parishes and does so, will be disqualified!
Image: Carnwath Show Facebook