There are numerous games where the race, in one way or another, is an important part. The games can be initially classified into those where the objective is the race itself and others where the race is a further component. In any event, it should be noted that even in the case of the races as such, they often lose their competitive meaning and become mere entertaining pastimes.
Racing strictly speaking. Lasterketak
The speed contest is a game found in all nearly all surveyed locations. Boys are usually, but not exclusively, the ones taking part. In general, races are organised to see who runs faster from a starting point to a pre-agreed finish; that may be a street, a house, a certain stone of a wall, a tree, etc.
However, there are different versions in which certain difficulties are introduced to make the race more challenging and also more entertaining.
Hopping races are also very common which involve jumping on just one leg to a pre-agreed finish; any player who puts the other leg on the ground is usually disqualified. Both girls and boys take part in these races.
“Wheelbarrow” races where a player holds on to the ankles of another player who races face down on their hands. The wheelbarrow pairs race towards a finish. Then, they sometimes change places so that the player who was the wheelbarrow becomes the guide and vice versa. These two last types of racing in pairs have been common in the games organised during local festivities. They are discussed in greater detail in the chapter on this type of games.
In many cases, the races are made more difficult by means of an object that can be as simple as a tin can. One such case is the so-called “tin can stilts race” which was popular until the 1950s. Boys and girls used to play and they needed two tin cans with holes drilled in the bottom. Ropes (measuring about 50 cm long) were put through the holes. The children stood on the tin cans and held on to the ends of the rope.
A line would be drawn on the ground to indicate the starting point and the players took their places along it. Someone would say “ready, steady, go” and the race would begin. If any runner fell over, they were disqualified.
This game was found to have been played in many of the surveyed locations, although under different names. In any event, the names of “stilts”, “cans” and “tins” or combinations and derivatives of them seem to prevail.
One original racing game is called “shoe pile scramble”. All the players, who can be many and of different sex, need to remove their shoes and leave them in a pile. They then line up on the starting a line a short distance away. Once the signal is given, each one runs to get their shoes, put them on and race back to the starting line. The first one to do so wins.
Games that includes racing. Lasterketa jokoak
This section includes all those where running is the most important aspect even though it takes different forms in the various games, as can be seen in the detailed description of each of them. They sometimes involve running to the other players; that will often not be sufficient and they will have to touch or catch their playmates and there will even been times where the participants have to sprint at great speed to avoid being caught.
All the participants choose who will be “it” and chase the others to try to “tag” or touch them and that person will then become it. Both girls and boys take part in this game and it is common to all the surveyed locations.
Cops and robbers. A lapur y mikelete
In Artziniega (A), it is known as "Cops and Robbers”. It simply consists of the children who are the police, holding hands in at least pairs, setting off from an agreed point to search for the robbers who they have to try and touch. When they catch them, they form trios until they touch another one, when the trio breaks up into two pairs as it is much easier for two to run together than three or more.
Two teams are then formed but each on the same side. The sound is then repeated until even one has been allocated.
Chain tag. Katean
Girls and boys play. The person who is "it“ has to try to catch another of the players who are running. Once a player is caught, they hold hands and run to catch another player and so on until everyone is caught, and therefore a long chain is formed.
Four corners. Kantoi-kantoika. Txokoketan
A very popular game and which has been found in numerous surveyed locations is the one known as “Four Corners”. Both girls and boys play it.
Four players go to their respective corners and a fifth one, the payer who is “it”, tries to get to one of the corners when the others change places. More players can take part, provided that the number of corners is one smaller than the number of people playing.
Drop the Handkerchief/ Musical – A Tisket, A Tasket. Zapi zuria atzetik
The name of the game is from the object that the players use. The girls sit in a circle on the floor. One of them is the ama (“it) and walks around the outside singing a song, which to a certain extent controls the game, with the handkerchief hidden and then quietly drops it behind one of them. When that player realises she has it, she grabs and runs after the ama. If she manages to tag her with the handkerchief, she wins and returns to her place, but if the ama gets back to the gap first without being caught, the other becomes “it”.