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Why the Grand National is Such a Major Sporting Event?

Whether you’re intrigued by the majesty of the race, backing your favourite horse, or just attending for the splendid occasion, the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK

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Here is why the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in UK. Pixabay
  • Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events
  • Everywhere it garners a massive audience
  • Almost everyone in the United Kingdom is a huge fan this horse racing event

Every year, the Grand National garners a massive gathering. But, this huge crowd of people watching the Grand National at the venue and on television isn’t the collective of horse racing fans. Almost everyone in the United Kingdom, regardless of horse racing fandom and knowledge, has a flutter on the major event. Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, people all over the world are tuning in and watching the horses that they back.

But why exactly does the Grand National stand in such high prestige, and how does it draw such a massive audience?

The Race Itself

Source: BBC Sport, via Twitter
Source: BBC Sport, via Twitter

The Grand National is one of the premier jump events on the horse racing calendar – likely only trailing the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in the opinion of most. To add to the trials of the jumps, the race takes place over a massive four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs. As the longest race in Great Britain, that also incorporates jumps, it’s seen as a great test of skill and stamina for the horses and jockeys.

Due to the nature of the race as well the massive field of competing horses – the most to line up was 66 horses in 1992 – upsets occur regularly. The last five winners have all had starting prices above 10/1, including One For Arthur’s 14/1 in 2017, Rule The World’s 33/1 in 2016, and Auroras Encore’s 66/1 in 2013.

At the 2018 Randox Health Grand National (14th April), there’s still a huge field of horses for people to back. According to William Hill, Blacklion, Tiger Roll, and Total Recall are the favourites at 10/1, but that doesn’t preclude the 16/1 The Last Samurai, or the 33/1 Vieux Lion Rouge from winning.

So, whether you back the favourite horse by the bookies, your favourite number, or a grey horse, there’s always the chance that your horse will stay in the race and jump all 30 fences while others fall by the wayside.

The Occasion

Source: BBC Merseyside, via Twitter
Source: BBC Merseyside, via Twitter

While other horse racing venues, such as Cheltenham and Epsom, boast the more recognisable tracks, Aintree is not only a scenic location, but it’s also in an area of residence. It’s known as the People’s Race; being so entrenched in the local community of Aintree embodies that sentiment.

With the Grand National seen as a major date on the calendar, people dress up in their finest and wackiest attire. Aintree is flooded with people who want to see the annual race as well as get swept up in all of the pageantry and the atmosphere.

One pub in particular now goes hand-in-hand with the Grand National. The Queens, which stands just a minute away from the racecourse, says that the Grand National weekend is the best of the year. With the bar open, barbecues fired up, and lots of music, The Queens becomes the perfect post-race venue.

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Much of the buzz comes from everyone having the chance to win a bet. This gets people cheering in a sport that they may not follow for most of the year. In fact, last year, it was predicted that in the UK alone, around £250 million was wagered on the Grand National.

Whether you’re intrigued by the majesty of the race, backing your favourite horse, or just attending for the splendid occasion, the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK every year.

Next Story

Study Says, Excess Physical Activity Can Be Harmful for Athletes

The researchers believe that fatigue and reduced cognitive control might also constitute the first stage in the development of a "burnout syndrome"

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Athletes
This excessive physical activity in Athletes leads to reduced activity of the lateral prefrontal cortex (a key region for cognitive control), similar to that observed during mental effort. Pixabay

Researchers have found that, in top Athletes, excess physical activity could be harmful and also associated with major fatigue and reduced performances.

The study published in the journal Current Biology shows that intensive physical training could harm brain capacity, particularly cognitive control.

For the findings, Mathias Pessiglione and his team from Inserm Research Institute in France said that they were interested in identifying the causes of a common phenomenon in top athletes, known as “overtraining syndrome”.

This was characterised by reduced athletic performance and intense fatigue.

Athletes suffering from this syndrome might be tempted by products likely to restore their performance.

The primary hypothesis of the researchers were clear: the fatigue caused by overtraining is similar to that caused by mental efforts.

To test this idea, the team spent nine weeks working with 37 triathletes, who were split into two groups.

The first underwent the “usual” high-level training whereas the second had additional training during the last three weeks of the experiment, with sessions lasting 40 per cent longer, on average.

From this, the researchers were able to identify similarities between overly intensive physical training and excessive mental work.

Athletes
Researchers have found that, in top Athletes, excess physical activity could be harmful and also associated with major fatigue and reduced performances. Pixabay

This excessive physical activity leads to reduced activity of the lateral prefrontal cortex (a key region for cognitive control), similar to that observed during mental effort.

This reduction in brain activity was associated with impulsive decision-making, in which short-term gratification was prioritised over long-term goals.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why Shaking Head To Remove Water From Ears Can Cause Brain Damage

In the case of top athletes, being this impulsive could lead to their decision to stop right in the middle of a performance or to abandon a race in order to end the pain felt during physical exertion.

The researchers believe that fatigue and reduced cognitive control might also constitute the first stage in the development of a “burnout syndrome”, which affects many people across various professional sectors. (IANS)