The central element of the games is to be found in the variety of track races that are run throughout the afternoon. These are all run on a handicapped basis and every competitor is allocated a handicap rating or “mark”. This is given to each runner by the appointed handicapper and is based upon the individual’s previous performances, times and perceived ability. Often the source of much controversy, the handicapper’s skill is to afford each competitor an equal chance of winning each race and thus have each runner crossing the line together in all the races, turning the handicapper’s triumph into the judges nightmare!
The origin of running at highland games meetings is centuries old. Dating back to the time when local landowners needed to engage the services of the fleetest of foot to deliver important messages between the important houses of the land, rivalry soon sprung up between them, each believing that they had the quickest and best of messengers. Challenges between the neighbouring landowners soon became established to determine who had the king of the runners and these evolved into annual village sports meetings and Games we know today where valuable prizes- now almost always in cash- are awarded to those who come out at the top of their individual disciplines. Crieff Highland Gathering pays out over £10,000 in prizes & trophies throughout the day between all Games events.