The Hill Race was first introduced by Major (later Brigadier-General) Charles Bruce of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles as a protest against the Indian Army attitude which considered that Gurkhas could not compete in sports on equal terms with other units of the Indian Army. Unsurpassed among athletic contests as a spectacle, the Khud Race not only established the reputation of the Gurkha as practically invincible on the hill-side, but also aided their operations in the hills of the North West Frontier.
One of the most notable of all hill running performances in Gurkha history occured in 1899 during a visit to the Isle of Skye. An argument had broken out in an Inn between a laird and Major Bruce resulting in a bet being made that one of Major Bruce’s men, Havildar Harkbir Thapa, could not run to the top of Glamaig hill and back in an hour and a quarter – a distance of two miles across open moorland to the foot, and a rise of 2,817 feet to the summit. Harkbir reached the summit within 37 minutes and took a further 18 to return to the Inn without fatigue. Many athletes have since tried to beat this time, but it took a professional fell runner in running shoes, nearly a hundred years later,to shave five minutes off the time set in 1899.