How do you like your sport? Blood, sweat, tears and a nailbiting finish, no doubt. But what about death?
If it were highly likely at least one competitor would die during a race, would you still watch it on TV? Or place a bet on the outcome?
And how different would your answer be if the athletes were not humans, but horses, asks animal welfare activists.
Those uncomfortable questions are unlikely to deter the 600 million people in 140 countries tuning in on Saturday to watch the hardest -- and most spectacular -- horse race of its kind in the world; Britain's Grand National.
Each year, around 40 thoroughbreds leap over 30 fences in a thrilling 10-minute dash, with more than $300 million bet on the race in the UK alone.
Part of the Grand National's huge appeal is the difficult and unpredictable 7.24 kilometer course. But with that difficult and unpredictable course comes a cost -- in the last 50 years of the race, 36 horses have died before crossing the finish line.
For animal rights campaigners, the competition is viewed as a cruel death trap. For organizers, and indeed the 70,000 punters attending each year, it's the country's biggest, brightest sporting event.
"If you totally nullify the risk of the course, then you also nullify any element of challenge -- and the Grand National is the ultimate challenge," David Williams, spokesman at betting agency Ladbrokes, told CNN.
"Each of us has to look into our own souls and ask ourselves if that risk is a price we're willing to pay, and that's not an easy answer."
Rich betting tradition
From schools, to offices, and local pubs across the country, the Grand National sweepstake -- in which everyone is allocated a horse to bet on -- is an annual fixture.
"It is the biggest betting event of the entire year. It's a very British tradition," Williams said.
"Children are brought up with it. I remember watching it with my grandparents and betting with matchsticks."
Launched in 1839, the historic race holds a special place in the public's imagination, transcending the sports pages with its dramatic Aintree course and flamboyant Liverpool crowd.
And despite two horses fracturing their legs and later being euthanized at last year's race -- including the favorite, Synchronized -- enthusiasm for the competition doesn't appear to be waning.
"The bottom line is, it hasn't had a significant impact at all," Williams said. "The betting public don't appear to be particularly put off by the issue of horse welfare."
Thoroughbreds usually die by falling on one of the fences, breaking a limb, and later being put down. Some also die from injuries during the race or heart attacks.
"Other jump races have uniform fences with a standard height of 4 foot 6 inches (1.4 meters)," Dene Stansall, horse racing consultant at Animal Aid, told CNN.
"But at the Grand National each fence is a different height, style or slant. The ground might be lower or higher on the take-off or landing side and all these things throw the horse's center of gravity."