Sack Racing 101

Sack Racing 101 by Yombu
Yombu Post Author Seth Van Oudtshoon

Written by (Author):  Seth Van Oudtshoon
Last updated:  November 13, 2023

From pillow cases and garbage bags, to beanies and gunny sacks, sack racing has been played in many forms around the World for decades. It was thought to have originated in the UK, having been adapted from the military, where soldiers would run 20 kilometers or more carrying a 40 pound sack of sand as a way to build strength and endurance. The modern version is a whole lot less grueling and a bunch more fun. Sack racing has become more popular over the years as a recreational activity and is often played at school sports days and other outdoor events. It continues to be a popular activity for kids parties today, and one that is both simple to organize and a sure-fire win for party planners and entertainers.

If you’d rather carry the 40 pound sack of sand than have to plan how to keep children busy at a birthday party, then let the professionals take care of it. Check out Yombu’s entertainers here.

1) The Benefits of Sack Racing for Kids

At this point you might still be on the fence about adding a Sack Race to your party games repertoire, but this fun and entertaining party game is not only easy-peasy to organize, it has numerous benefits for Children. Some of the benefits are:

It promotes physical activity: Sack races are a fantastic way to get youngsters moving and motivate them to exercise. It also helps get rid of some of that boundless party energy and ensures that it isn’t misdirected into jumping on your furniture (yes, we have seen this happen).

It improves balance and coordination: Hopping in a sack isn’t as easy as it looks, and to do it well, takes a whole lot of balance and coordination. Like a lot of outdoor games and activities, Sack Racing helps improve kids’ co-ordination and balance, while promoting healthy outdoor exercise.

Team work: Sack racing can be played independently or in a team, where both Children have one leg in the sack and race as a pair. This helps to promote co-operation and sportsmanship, while teaching kids to work together.

2) How to Setup and Play Sack Racing

To start, each player will need their own sack in order to compete. These could be sacks made of fabric or burlap, or even big pillows if you have a few old ones floating around the attic. The next step is to find a level, grassy space to race on. There should be a starting line and a finishing line that are both clearly designated, and the area should be long enough for all players to run comfortably.

To start the race, you will need each player to line up with their sack at the starting point. Players should put both feet in their sack and, when the race starts, hop toward the finish line as quickly as possible. The contest is won by the first competitor to reach the finish line.

If you want to make the game more challenging (for older Children or even Adults), you can include hurdles or cones for players to navigate around when racing. Another fun alternative is to turn the solo race into a relay, in which each competitor runs one leg before passing the sack to the next competitor on their team.

Kids Competing in a Sack Race Yombu Events
Kids Competing in a Sack Race
Sack Race 101 Sacks by Yombu Blog
Some Sack for Sack Racing
Kids Competing in a Sack Race Yombu Events
Kids in a Sack Race

3) What Kind of Sacks Should You Use?

Although you can use a wide range of materials for sack racing, there are a few things to take into account when selecting the best sacks for sack racing. First off, pick a sturdy material that can resist the rigors of the race, because they are going to take some abuse. Sacks made of burlap or fabric are a great choice, as they are long-lasting and difficult to tear. We don’t recommend paper or plastic garbage bags, as they are more likely to rip or break during the race.

The sacks should fit the players properly – they need to be big enough for the players to put both foot inside but without being so big that they end up tripping all over them as they try to run. Ideally, the Sacks should be waist height, so that the player can easily hold it up without having to hunch and impede their running ability.

We highly recommend purchasing racing sacks from Big Bag. These bag making professionals have a great range of sacks for all ages available for purchase online.

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4) Sack Racing Rules

Where would we be without rules? Sack Racing like all games has some set rules that you should keep in mind when playing it. Here are the basic ones:

  • Keep both feet in the sack at all times during the race.
  • The Racers have to hop to move forward, and are not allowed to run in the sacks.
  • No pushing, shoving, or tripping of the other racers is allowed.
  • If one of the Racers falls over, or touches the ground with their hands they have to get back up and continue hopping from where they fell.
  • Racers have to stay within the designated racecourse no short cuts.
  • The first racer to cross the finish line while remaining inside their sack is the winner.

And there you have it – how to organize a Sack race for your next party and rock it. Sack racing is a party game that all ages will enjoy, plus a wonderful opportunity to socialize with loved ones and get some exercise. We have played it at 1000s of parties over the years and it never gets old, but provides fun and laughter for not only the participants but for the onlookers too.


What is the World Record for a 100 meter Sack Race?

This record was set by Stephen Wildish in Swindon, UK in 2017, when he blitzed a 100 meter race in 26.22 seconds. This impressive athlete also holds the 2018 World record for the 200 meter race, clocking in at a speedy 64.19 seconds.

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      1. Alice Hayes

        Hop really fast 🙂 Its not one of the games that is easy to tactically win. But rolling down the top of the sack so you have a good grip and keeping your feet as far apart as possible helps.