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Parts of a Track

Answered By Jeff Arbogast

Question

I'm relatively new to track & field, and I don't know all of the parts of a track. For instance, where does a 200 meter race start? 400, 800 etc. Are all track distances the same?

Answer

Good question and of course this is one of the basics to understanding the sport. All tracks now are built to standard dimensions of 400m (one lap) and have been converted from 440 yds (just slightly longer) since the late 1970s and are therefor 'the same'. The start and finish for all lap races is at the start/finish line, and the 200m start is halfway around, near the beginning of turn 3. The turns are labeled from the start with the very first corner being turn 1, through turn 4, coming into the home stretch. An 800 is exactly 2 times around, with the 1600 being 4. Some states use the 1500m instead of the 1600m as that is the Olympic "mile". That starts 100m down the track at the start of the 300m hurdles in Lane 1 (coming off turn 2). With this consistency, track becomes a sport where comparison is fairly easy. Although track composition, weather, and altitude can all have an impact on track times, the distances are always the same from one point in the country (or world) to another! Have fun . . .train hard . . .

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