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Track Basics

Information below will help get you ready for the track terminology you will be hearing; as well as what to expect during track meets or practices.  

Track and Field Events

Note:  Every event will not be offered at every meet.  Also, events may be limited to specific age groups.  Please discuss with your coaches what events are being offered.  

The order of events will vary by track meet.   It can change throughout a meet as well.  It is best to arrive to any track meet 1 hour in advance to allow the time for your athlete to warm up and for you as parents to get setup and prepared for the events.  

You must pay close attention to event calls.  PAY CLOSE ATTENTION!!!!  An announcer will be calling out what events need to be checking in.  There are 3 calls per event.  Normally there is an ongoing discussion on TCTC Event group chat announcing the calls we hear.  

Parents are responsible for ensuring their athletes get to check in and picked up from the finish line.  All younger athletes will need to be pickup by a parent or they will not be released.  

Most field events will normally check in at their event location.  

Running events have priority over field events.  If an athlete has a running event conflicting with a field event, the athlete is advised to check in at the field event and then check out to go to their running event.  Immediately after running event, they must go back to the field event.  

Multi-Disciplined Events

  • Triathlon [9 – 10]: Shot Put (6lb), High Jump, 200m (Girls) / 400m (Boys)

  • Pentathlon [11 – 12]: 80m Hurdles, Shot Put (6lb), High Jump, Long Jump, 800m (Girls) /

  • Pentathlon [13 – 14]: 100m Hurdles, Shot Put (6lb - Girls) / (4kg - Boys), High Jump, Long

Jump, 800m (Girls) / 1500m (Boys)

  • Heptathlon (Girls) [15 – 18]: 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put (4kg), 200m, Long Jump, Javelin (600g), 800m.

  • Decathlon (Boys) [15 – 18]: 100m, Long Jump, Shot Put (12lb), High Jump, 400m, 100m Hurdles, Discus (1.6kg), Pole Vault, Javelin (800g), 1500m.

 

 

Running Events

  • Sprints: 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters 

  • Middle Distance: 800 meters, 1,500 meters 

  • Distance: 3,000 meters, 2,000 meters Steeplechase

  • Hurdles: 80-meter hurdles, 100-meter hurdles (women), 110-meter hurdles (men),200-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles

  • Relays: 4 x 100 meters relay, 4 x 400 meters relay, 4 x 800 meters relay  

  • Walks: 1,500-meter race walk, 3,000-meter race walk

 

Jumps

  • Long Jump

  • High Jump

  • Triple Jump

 

Throws

  • Pole Vault

  • Shot Put

  • Javelin (Standard, Turbo/Mini, Aero)

  • Discus

 

One lap on the inside lane of a conventional track is 400 meters, which is just less than 8 feet short of a quarter mile. 

Track Glossary:

  • Personal Record (PR) – athlete’s best ever performance in a given event.

  • Discus - a throwing event in track and field where a metal disk is thrown for distance. 

  • Shot put - a field throwing event where a heavy, metal ball is thrown for distance. 

  • Javelin – a throwing event where a long spear like object is thrown for distance.

  • High Jump - a track and field jumping event. Athletes must clear a high bar without knocking it over by jumping. 

  • Long Jump / Triple Jump - jumping event where athletes compete for the longest jump in distance. 

  • Pole Vault – a jumping event where a long pole is used to clear a high bar without knocking it over.

  • Relay race - a race involving multiple runners (typically 4) where each runner runs a leg of the race handing off a baton to the next runner. 

  • Sprint - a short running race where acceleration and top speed are important

  • Mark - a mark is the measured distance of a valid throw or jump in a field event; this term can also be used in relationship to times but is most often used as a call to let others know a jump or throw is allowable and should be measured.

  • False Start - leaving the starting line before the gun sounds

  • Baton/Stick - a tube that is passed from one relay race member to another. The runner holding the baton is the current runner for that team in the race. They are typically about 1 foot long and 1.5 inches in diameter. 

  • Starter – the person who starts the races with either a call, whistle blast or gun blast. 

  • Rolling Schedule – events are run one after the other without time restraints or reference to a set time.  

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