17 March 2006

Description of middle-distance running

Middle-distance races generally cover 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m and 4 x 400m relays.

Middle-distance races generally cover 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m and 4 x 400m relays.

These races often produce spectacular running, competitive spirit and exciting finishes. Who will ever forget the names of middle-distance heroes such as Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett, Lasse Viren and Emil Zatopek?

And our own Gert Portgieter, De Villiers Lampbrecht, Marcello Fiasconaro, Dicky Broberg, Zola Budd, Elana Meyer, Hezekiel Sepeng and Llewellyn Herbert.

From the inscriptions found in Cyprus about athletic games dating back to the 2nd century B.C. to the competitive and technical athletics of business today, athletics continues to span time and the generations.

There’s a purity about running that evades more high-tech events. Whether it’s sprints, middle-distance, road running, hurdles or relays, the event consists of an area that must be covered before your competitors do.

Traditionally, all track races are run anti-clockwise. Each athlete has a lane in which to run and the starting points are staggered to accommodate the curvature of the track. In all races up to and including the 400m, athletes must stay in their designated lanes.

Hurdles are a thrilling spectacle. Hurdlers make their task look easy, but if you’re learning, be prepared to take a tumble or two. In competition, you’re not penalised for knocking hurdles over unless you’re judged to have done so on purpose.

In races like the 800 metres and longer, runners are required to stay in their lanes until the end of the first bend in the track. After that there’s some tussling for the inside lane.


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