Should Hiking Be Considered a Sport?
Many sports started out as a hobby that gradually became more popular. However, in order for a hobby to be a sport, it needs to have a competitive aspect. Collecting stamps is a hobby, but it’s not really competitive, as the only thing you can do is compare your collection to someone else’s. Video games are competitive, and those that really focus on player vs. player dynamic are now eSports. This is why it’s difficult to place hiking into the sports category because the whole concept is somewhere in the middle. So, let’s take a close look and see if hiking should be a sport.
Can Hiking Be Competitive?
Hiking is basically faster walking, but not fast enough to be considered running. Meaning, it’s always physically possible for hikers to go faster, and the reason they don’t is that they are not racing one another. That being said, people can compete in terms of how many miles or kilometers they can traverse during their hike. In other words, you can make it about the distance and add some rules on top to make it more interesting. However, would this be enough to make hiking a sport?
Why Hiking Doesn’t Work as a Sport
The sport needs to be a spectacle, and people need to demonstrate their athletic fitness, fitness, endurance, or another physical aspect that would be also entertaining. Hiking, although it can test endurance, wouldn’t be too entertaining to spectate, and it would probably last for hours or days. It can be impressive to hear how many kilometres someone has passed on foot, and on difficult terrain, but no one would be interested in watching the whole thing happen. In other words, you can’t make hiking interesting without turning it into a race.
A Potential Solution
Perhaps there can be a sport that could rely on hiking but with a different theme. Hiking is about exploring nature, so why not turn it into a treasure hunt. There could be a long trail involved, but the majority of the points are scored by uncovering treasures and bringing them to the final destination. This way of running wouldn’t make sense, and the best thing to do would be to slowly explore the surroundings and find the hidden objects.
Competitors might need to solve certain puzzles in order to get the items or at least some hints where the items could be.
It doesn’t really make the whole thing more exciting to watch, but it makes for a more entertaining competition for those who are participating.
So even if it is healthy and treated as physical activity, hiking cannot be considered a sport. It can be competitive on its own, but that doesn’t make it interesting for those who are watching. If we were to make it about speed or distance, it would no longer be considered hiking, and that’s why it can never be a sport or a stand-alone competition.