The shorter track events are called dashes or sprints. Our athletes run the 100, 200 and 400 meters. On a standard-size track, one lap is 400 meters.
Races that are 800, 1600 or 3200 meters long.
Relays are events in which four teammates run, one at a time, passing a baton from one runner to the next. The three distances for relays are totals of 400, 800 or 1600 meters. These races are identified by the number of runners and the distance they each run, rather than the total distance of the race. So, for example, the 800-meter relay might be called the 4x200 relay — typically pronounced as "four by 200 relay."
Hurdle events also are held on tracks, and the athletes must leap over the evenly spaced hurdles as they run. Distances include the 110 and 300 meter hurdles for men and the 100 and 300 meter hurdles for women. The shorter hurdle races are called "high hurdles", and the height are 39" for men's 110m and 33" for women's 100m. The 300m hurdle race is called "low hurdles", and hurdle heights are 36" for men and 30" for women.
The field events include three in which the athletes throw implements: discus, shot put and javelin. In the discus, the athlete throws a heavy disc using a spinning motion, and in the shot put, the athlete tosses a heavy sphere, usually by pushing it from his or her shoulder. A javelin is a spear-like implement.
There also are four field events in which the athletes jump or vault as high or as far as possible: high jump, long jump, triple jump and pole vault. In the high jump and pole vault, the athlete takes a running start and leaps over a bar that is raised after each successful attempt, and he or she lands on a large pad. A pole vaulter uses a long, flexible pole to propel himself or herself over the bar. For the long jump and triple jump, the athlete takes a running start and leaps as far as possible into a landing pit of soft dirt, sand or sawdust. In the triple jump, as its name implies, the athlete takes three consecutive jumps — sometimes referred to as a hop, a skip and a jump — and the distance is measured from the first jumping line to where the athlete landed after his or her final jump.