The Midsummer Run Tradition / Ritual in Laeonesse | World Anvil

The Midsummer Run

Aye, of course I remember my first Midsummer Run! Do I look like an old, senile man! It is a boy's greatest honor to finally participate in the Midsummer Run. To truly be a man is to run in the race.


The origin of the Midsummer Run dates back to the earliest days of human settlement in Laeonesse, when a party of raiders sailed inland from the sea, burning and plundering along the way. A young man, only partially through his coming of age ritual, ran for two days to the nearest king and begged for aid. The king summoned his army and marched them to the river delta, which they blocked up before the raiding ships returned. When the raiding fleet returned, they found themselves trapped in the narrowest stretch of the river. The king's slingers and archers massacred the raiders and his swordsmen boarded the ships and captured them.   Every year afterwards, the men in the isle of Draig reran that route, two days out and then two days back. Upon their return to their village, they compete in a daylong running competition that includes challenges of arms in which they compete.


Every year, the village elders chart out a running route that will take the competitors two days to complete, and they give the racers a very detailed account, which they practice and rehearse before the event. Five days before midsummer, the race begins just before dawn, with the racers gathering in the center of the community. The older men who no longer compete in the run play the part of the raiders, appearing with torches and face-paint approach the village while shouting and banging staves or spears on wooden shields. That is the mark for the runners to be off and they leave to complete the route, taking what food and water they can carry, but having to forage or hunt for food beyond that. How much they carry is up to them and their own discretion, based on their own strategy that they decide upon to use for the run.   A judge is decided upon who waits at the midway point to serve as the king and he accepts a message from each runner before sending them back. The way back is the same as the original run. Points are awarded for being the first to reach the judge, clarity of message, and then being the first to return to the village. These are tallied, but the winner is decided on the points gained from the different combat trials.   During the combat trials, the runners are tested with their accuracy in either sling or bow, their spear and shield combat, as well as wrestling, all of which are accomplished immediately after returning from the run.


The Runners
These are mostly young men, starting from when they complete their coming of age ceremony usually to their mid-twenties. They are less experienced and less hardened in the wilds around them and in the nature of combat, which they are all expected to be competent at, in order to defend their home.
The Judge
One of the older men in the community, recognized for his wisdom and leadership, he rides out to the halfway point on a horse and camps there until all the runners have arrived. If one of them fails to make it within two days, it is also his responsibility to find the runner and the cause, and since an injury is the most likely explanation, get him back to camp.
"The Raiders"
These are the men who are too old to run in the race, but not yet old enough to be the judge. Daily life in the village also depends on them more than the runners. So, they stay behind, with their roles only to start the race, and be present for the combat trials on the final day.


The run is scheduled to conclude in its combat trials on the summer solstice, so the exact date depends entirely on when the solstice occurs.
Related Ethnicities


Please Login in order to comment!
Jul 28, 2018 20:14 by Xanthuss

Interesting ceremony! Besides the tradition, why does the run continue today? And what do the best runners receive? Bragging rights, prizes, honour?

Jul 30, 2018 18:25 by Kaleb Kramer

You know, prizes were not something that I considered. Definitely an oversight on my part. I'll go back and fix that.

K.C. Kramer- Tales From Beyond the Horizon
Jul 28, 2018 22:16

A nice way to honour history. Was this kind of tournament adopted elsewhere, like the Marathon in our world has become an actual sport? (On a side note, the BBCode in your last paragraph is broken)

Jul 30, 2018 18:26 by Kaleb Kramer

(Good catch!) Yep! I actually took inspiration directly from the marathon and that is the basis for this one as well, so it has spread across all the isles.

K.C. Kramer- Tales From Beyond the Horizon
Jul 28, 2018 22:39

This is such a cool idea, I like that it is a long challenge not just something completed in under an hour. Nice work!

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Jul 30, 2018 18:26 by Kaleb Kramer

Thanks! I appreciate it!

K.C. Kramer- Tales From Beyond the Horizon