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    Postfest V, Part II: The Red Horse Race
    Posted on Tue, August 09, 2005 by Dongul
    gvdammerung writes "Organized foot races, once common among the Flan, are much more rarely encountered now. The most famous foot race is no longer dominated by the Flan, although many Flan enter. Run as a relay, the Red Horse Race of Ratik tests teams of runners in a grueling race over long cross-country distances.

    The Red Horse Race
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Date: 10th Reaping
    Location: Ratikhill (Ratik), Marner (Ratik)
    Type: Sporting

    The Red Horse Race is the most famous foot race in the Flanaess. The race is run in relay teams of ten and runs from Ratikhill to Marner in even years and from Marner to Ratikhill in odd years. The race began as a practical training exercise for foot messengers. Ratik has been in its history subject to humanoid raids from the Bone March, as well as barbarian raids from the north. In several cases, disaster was only averted when runners brought news of an invasion from Ratikhill to Marner or from Marner to Ratikhill, horses being scarce in the early history of the area and still not as common as elsewhere in the Flanaess. Today, the race celebrates the past, continues to train runners and is an excuse for celebration. The Red Horse Race, so named for the Flan term for a human messenger - a red horse - approximates a celebration of national identity in Ratik.

    Celebrations begin in the host city that starts the race just after dawn. The runners are introduced. Speeches are given. The race is started as spectators line the racecourse up to several miles outside of the city. Celebration then continues throughout the remainder of the day. In the host city where the race ends, celebration does not start until the race has a winner. Again, crowds line the racecourse for several miles before the finish line in the city proper. Once there is a winner, awards are given to the first through fifth place finishers. Speeches are made and a general celebration ensues. In the specific case of Marner, when it is the site of the finish of the Red Horse Race, during the day, there are sailing competitions in the waters of Grendip Bay. The winners in various boat classes are awarded their victory after the winners of the Red Horse Race.

    Entrants into the Red Horse Race are traditionally Ratikan. However, others will occasionally enter. Highland Flan tribes from the southern Rakers are frequent entrants, as are Northmen, drawn by the physical challenge. When such occurs, betting on the winners is fevered. Any entrants from outside these immediate areas will further intensify the betting. Winners in all cases are feted as virtual heroes, although many are in no condition to fully appreciate the honor or opportunity after having expended themselves running.

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