Track & Field Learn the lingo

Ever go to a Track & Field event and have no idea what they are talking about? Here are probably the top 20 terms to know in Track & Field.

Heat - A preliminary or qualifying race within a competition that involves multiple rounds of races run for the purpose of qualifying for the final of the race.

Baton - The hollow tube which must be passed between runners to complete a relay race.

Set Position - The still position runners must assume immediately before the starting device goes off.

Hurdles - The horizontal barriers, called hurdles, which must be cleared during the various so-called hurdle races. These races are most commonly 100 meter, 110 meter, and 400 meter distances. Hurdles are differentiated from the barriers in the steeplechase because they can be adjusted for height and will rock/fall when struck.

Crossbar - The bar that a high jumper or pole vaulter must clear.

Takeoff - The moment at which an athlete's support foot breaks contact with the surface of the throwing circle, runway, or track and the athlete enters a period of flight.

Field events - All of the throwing and jumping events; events that do not take place on the track itself.

Changeover - The exchange of the baton from one runner to the next during a relay race.

Relay - An event in which four team members each run one of four legs of a race. The runners pass a baton in designated exchange zones.

Acceleration - A positive rate of change of velocity. In other words, the act of speeding up.

Dashes - The term commonly used to describe races up to the 800 meter distance. For example, the 100 meter dash.

Leg - A designation segment of a relay race completed by one runner

Approach - In a jumping event, the run up phase during which the athlete builds speed or otherwise prepares for the jump.

Trial - An attempt in a field event.

Runway - A designated area or lane where jumpers perform their approach before a jump.

PB - Personal Best.

PR - Personal Record.

Kick - A final increase in speed that comes toward the end of a running event. Kicks are primarily used to refer to in the 800 meter distance and up.

Anchor - The athlete who runs the last leg of a relay race.

Lap - One complete circuit of a track.



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