Facts About Running Track and Field
About the Author:
Karl Gruber is a runner and triathlete who is a practicing Law of Attraction Life Coach. He is also the author of a book about marathon running, a sport he also coaches and competes in. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Ohio State University.
Historians point to the first Olympics in 776 B.C. in Greece as the birth of track and field. Since then, the sport of track has evolved and emerged as the standard bearer of running excellence, from the 50-meter race to the 26.2-mile marathon, along with the field events of jumping, throwing and vaulting, all of which make up the Decathlon. From its origins at the Greek Olympics to its establishment within collegiate ranks; a worldwide, professional circuit; and now a regular varsity sport for youth school teams, track and field is a mainstay in the sports world.
Beyond track and field’s origins at the Olympics, the collegiate ranks were responsible for its increased worldwide popularity and competitions. The first modern college track meet occurred in England in 1864 between Oxford and Cambridge universities. In the United States, the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America organized the very first college track and field meets in 1873. The association presided over U.S. track and field until 1980, when the Athletic Union/USA replaced it as the governing body. Finally, in 1992, the United States of America Track and Field (USATF), took over as the current governing body in America.
Running Event Facts
The running events for track consist of short sprint distances of 100, 200 and 400 meters, an 800-meter race, and distance events of 1,600, 3,000, 3,200 and 5,000 meters. In other events, competitors run and jump over hurdles, with women doing the 100 meters, men running the 110 meters and the 400-meter hurdles done by both sexes. Relay events are run with four runners per team, with each doing one quarter of the total race distance. Relay team members carry a baton that is then passed off to their respective teammates. The marathon distance of 26.2 miles/42.2 kilometers is generally reserved for the Olympics and international championships, as well as regional marathons.
Field Event Facts
The field events in track are the long-jump, triple-jump, pole vault, discus throwing, shot put and high jump. There are also two-day events called the Decathlon (The Latin “Dec” refers to the 10 events) and Heptathlon (seven events). Decathlon competitors do a 100-meter sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump and a 400-meter race on day one, and a 110-meter hurdle event, discus, pole vault, javelin and a 1,500-meter run on day two. Heptathlon competitors perform a 200-meter run, a 100-meter hurdle event, high jump and shot put during the first day, and then throw a javelin, long jump and race 800 meters on day two.