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.
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.