Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.
On Easter Monday in Atherstone in Warwickshire an unusual sports event takes place that attracts hundreds of competitors. It’s the annual Beagle Chasing extravaganza, which dates from the restoration of Charles II in 1660.
The chasing takes place over a number of distances and comprises individual and team events. There are no separate races for men and woman and no age-group categories. The main reason for this is that all contestants wear a hare costume and must carry a vegetable in their hand during the race, in deference to the diet of the hare. The beagles chase after an artificial scent laid by a dragsman, who wears a fox’s costume. The scent is made from animal droppings or human urine, aniseed, and fixative. The dragsman pulls it along in a bag to create a cross-country trail.