Tracks & Fields

Track and field competitions came forth in the late 19th century and were typically contested between athletes who were representing rival educational institutions, military organizations and sports clubs.Participating athletes may compete in one or more events, according to their specialties. Men and women compete separately. Track and field comes in both indoor and outdoor formats, with most indoor competitions occurring in winter, while outdoor events are held in spring and summer. The sport is defined by the venue in which the competitions are held -, the track and field stadium.

A variety of running events are held on the track and these fall into three broad distance types: sprints, middle-distance, and long-distance track events. Relay races feature teams comprising four runners each, who must pass a baton to their team-mate after a specified distance with the aim of being the first team to finish. Hurdling events and the steeplechase are a variation upon the flat running theme in that athletes must clear obstacles on the track during the race. The field events come in two types -, jumping and throwing competitions. In throwing events, athletes are measured by how far they hurl an implement, with the most common events being the shot put, discus, javelin, and hammer throw. There are four common track and field jumping events: the long jump and triple jump are contests measuring the distance an athlete can jump, while the high jump and pole vault are decided on the height achieved. Combined events, such as the decathlon, are competitions where athletes compete in a number of different track and field events, with each performance going toward a final points tally.

A standard outdoor track is oval in shape, 400 meters in length, and has at least eight lanes 1.22 m in width. Older track facilities may have nonstandard track lengths, such as 440 yards (402.3 m) (common in the United States). Historically, tracks were covered by a dirt running surface. Modern tracks are covered by a synthetic weather-resistant running surface, which typically consists of rubber (either black SBR or colored EPDM granules), bound by polyurethane or latex resins. Older tracks may be cinder-covered.

A standard indoor track is designed similarly to an outdoor track, but is only 200 meters in length and has between four and eight lanes, each with width between 0.90 m and 1.10 m.Often, the bends of an indoor track will be banked to compensate for the small turning radius. However, because of space limitations, indoor tracks may have other nonstandard lengths, such as 160-yard (146.3 m) indoor track at Madison Square Garden used for the Millrose Games. Because of space limitations, meetings held at indoor facilities do not hold many of athletics events typically vcontested outdoors.

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