I would like to ask you about the Hadith in which the Holy Prophet (sws) is reported to have raced with his wife A'ishah (rta). Please clarify the context and the meaning of this narrative. I have read it a couple of times in some articles on women sports and other issues.
The text of the referred Hadith in Ibn Majah is as follows:
A'ishah (rta) said: 'The Prophet (sws) raced with me and I won the race.'
The text of the Hadith in Musnad Ahmad is as follows:
Hasham reported on the authority of his father that A'ishah (rta) said: 'The Prophet (sws) raced with me and I won the race. We remained in this position until I put on some flesh and then the Prophet (sws) raced with me and [this time] he won. So the prophet said: "This is my revenge".' (Musnad Ahmad, No: 24164)
I don't think there is anything wrong with these narratives. They are reliable and do not contradict Qur'anic teachings nor are they against common sense. The Holy Prophet (sws) besides being a Messenger of God was also a very normal human being. His private life was very similar to the private life of all human beings. Entertainment and leisure were also found in his life. He also had a keen sense of humor, as the narrative from Musnad Ahmad shows.
In fact, we all need to learn from this aspect of the Prophet's life. It is generally thought that religious people should be overtly serious and should seldom indulge in any sort of amusement. What needs to be appreciated is that balance is the key word in one's life. An austere and pious life does not mean that one cannot laugh or enjoy oneself within the limits set by the Almighty.