Track and field is a sport comprising
various competitive athletic contests based on
running, jumping, and throwing. The name of
the sport derives from the competition venue:
a stadium with an oval running track around a
grass field. The throwing and jumping events
generally take place in the central enclosed
Running is a means of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and
other animals to move rapidly on foot. It is simply defined in athletics terms as
a gait in which at regular points during the running cycle both feet are off the
ground. This is in contrast to walking, where one foot is always in contact with
the ground, the legs are kept mostly straight and the center of gravity vaults over
the stance leg or legs in an inverted pendulum fashion. A characteristic feature of
a running body from the viewpoint of spring-mass mechanics is that changes in
kinetic and potential energy within a stride occur simultaneously, with energy
storage accomplished by springy tendons and passive muscle elasticity.[The term
running can refer to any of a variety of speeds ranging from jogging to sprinting.
The ancestors of mankind developed the ability to run for long distances about
four and a half million years ago, probably in order to hunt animals. Competitive
running grew out of religious festivals in various areas. Records of competitive
racing date back to the Tailteann Games in Ireland in 1829 BCE,[the first recorded
Olympic Games took place in 776 BCE.
It is thought that human running evolved at least four and a half million years
ago out of the ability of the ape-like Australopithecus, an early ancestor of humans, to
walk upright on two legs.The theory proposed considered to be the most likely evolution
of running is of early humans' developing as endurance runners from the practice of
persistence hunting of animals, the activity of following and chasing until a prey is too
exhausted to flee, succumbing to "chase myopathy" (Sears 2001), and that human
features such as the nuchal ligament, abundant sweat glands, the Achilles tendons,
big knee joints and muscular glutei maximi, were changes caused by this type of activity
(Bramble & Lieberman 2004, et al.).
The theory as first proposed used comparitative physiological evidence
and the natural habits of animals when running, indicating the
likelihood of this activity as a successful hunting method. Further
evidence from observation of modern day hunting practice also
indicated this likelihood (Carrier et al. 1984). According to Sears (p. 12)
scientific investigation (Walker & Leakey 1993) of the Nariokotome
Skeleton provided further evidence for the Carrier theory.Competitive
running grew out of religious festivals in various areas such as
Greece, Egypt, Asia, and the East African Rift in Africa. The Tailteann
Games, an Irish sporting festival in honour of the goddess Tailtiu, dates
back to 1829 BCE, and is one of the earliest records of competitive
running.[The origins of the Olympics and Maratho running are
shrouded by myth and legend, though the first recorded game took
place in 776 BCE.
Upright posture and a slight forward lean
Leaning forward places a runner's center of mass on the front part of the
foot, which avoids landing on the heel and facilitates the use of the spring mechanism of the
foot. It also makes it easier for the runner to avoid landing the foot in front of the center of
mass and the resultant braking effect. While upright posture is essential, a runner should
maintain a relaxed frame and use his/her core to keep posture upright and stable. This helps
prevent injury as long as the body is neither rigid nor tense. The most common running
mistakes are tilting the chin up and scrunching shoulders.[
Stride rate and types
Exercise physiologists have found that the stride rates are extremely consistent
across professional runners, between 185 and 200 steps per minute. The main difference
between long- and short-distance runners is the length of stride rather than the rate of stride
During running, the speed at which the runner moves may be calculated by multiplying
the cadence (steps per second) by the stride length. Running is often measured in terms of
pace[ in minutes per mile or kilometer. Fast stride rates coincide with the rate one pumps
one's arms. The faster one's arms move up and down, parallel with the body, the faster the
rate of stride. Different types of stride are necessary for different types of running. When
sprinting, runners stay on their toes bringing their legs up, using shorter and faster strides.
Long distance runners tend to have more relaxed strides that vary.
Many injuries are associated with running because of its high-impact nature.
Change in running volume may lead to development of patellofemoral pain
syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome, and patellar tendinopathy. While change in running pace
may cause Achilles Tendinitis, gastrocnemius injuries, and plantar fasciiltis.[Repetitive stress
on the same tissues without enough time for recovery or running with improper form can
lead to many of the above. Runners generally attempt to minimize these injuries by warming
up before exercise,focusing on proper running form, performing strength training
exercises, eating a well balanced diet, allowing time for recovery, and "icing" (applying ice to
sore muscles or taking an ice bath
Another common, running-related injury is chafing, caused by repetitive rubbing of
one piece of skin against another, or against an article of clothing. One common location for
chafe to occur is the runner's upper thighs. The skin feels coarse and develops a rash-like look.
A variety of deodorants and special anti-chafing creams are available to treat such problems.
Chafe is also likely to occur on the nipple.
Some runners may experience injuries when running on
concrete surfaces. The problem with running on concrete is that
the body adjusts to this flat surface running and some of the
muscles will become weaker, along with the added impact of
running on a harder surface. Therefore it is advised to change
terrain occasionally – such as trail, beach, or grass running. This is
more unstable ground and allows the legs to strengthen different
muscles. Runners should be wary of twisting their ankles on such
terrain. Running downhill also increases knee stress and should
therefore be avoided. Reducing the frequency and duration can
also prevent injury.
Barefoot running has been promoted as a means of
reducing running related injuries though this position on barefoot
running remains controversial and a majority of professionals
advocate the wearing of appropriate shoes as the best method for
While there is the potential for injury in running (just as there is in any sport), there are many
benefits. Some of these benefits include potential weight loss, improved cardiovascular and
respiratory health (reducing the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases), improved
cardiovascular fitness, reduced total blood cholesterol, strengthening of bones (and potentially
increased bone density), possible strengthening of the immune system and an improved selfesteem and emotional state. Running, like all forms of regular exercise, can effectively slow or
reverse the effects of aging.Running can assist people in losing weight, staying in shape and
improving body composition. Running increases your metabolism. Different speeds and
distances are appropriate for different individual health and fitness levels. For new runners, it
takes time to get into shape. The key is consistency and a slow increase in speed and distance.
While running, it is best to pay attention to how one's body feels. If a runner is gasping for
breath or feels exhausted while running, it may be beneficial to slow down or try a shorter
distance for a few weeks. If a runner feels that the pace or distance is no longer
challenging, then the runner may want to speed up or run farther.Running can also have
psychological benefits, as many participants in the sport report feeling an elated, euphoric
state, often referred to as a "runner's high". Running is frequently recommended as therapy for
people with clinical depression and people coping with addiction. A possible benefit may be the
enjoyment of nature and scenery, which also improves psychological well-being
In animal models, running has been shown to increase the number of newly born
neurons within the brain.[This finding could have significant implications in aging as well as
learning and memory.
Limits of speed
Footspeed,or sprint speed, is the
maximum speed at which a human
can run. It is affected by many
factors, varies greatly throughout the
population, and is important in
athletics and many sports.
The fastest human footspeed on
record is 44.72 km/h
(27.79 mph), seen during a 100-meter
sprint (average speed between the
60th and the 80th meter) by Usain
21,097 Half marathon
21,285 One hour run
303.5 24-hour run
Events by type
Track running events are individual or relay events with athletes racing over
specified distances on an oval running track. The events are categorised
as sprints, middle and long-distance, and hurdling.
Road running takes place on a measured course over an established road (as opposed
to track and cross country running). These events normally range from distances of 5
kilometers to longer distances such as half marathons and marathons, and they may
involve large numbers of runners or wheelchair entrants.
Cross country running
Cross country running takes place over open or rough terrain. The courses used at
these events may include grass, mud, woodlands, hills, flat ground and water. It is a
popular participatory sport, and is one of the events which, along with track and field,
road running, and race walking, makes up the umbrella sport of athletics.
Middle distance running events are track races longer than sprints up to 3000 metres.
The standard middle distances are the 800 metres, 1500 metres and mile run, although
the 3000 metres may also be classified as a middle distance event. The 880 yard run, or
half mile, was the forebear to the 800 m distance and it has its roots in competitions in
the United Kingdom in the 1830s. The 1500 m came about as a result of running three
laps of a 500 m track, which was commonplace in continental Europe in the 1900s
Long-distance running, or endurance running, is a form of continuous running over
distances of at least five kilometres (3.1 miles). Physiologically, it is largely aerobic in
nature and requires stamina.
Sprints are short running events in athletics and track and field. Races over short
distances are among the oldest running competitions. The first 13 editions of the Ancient
Olympic Games featured only one event – the stadion race, which was a race from one end of
the stadium to the other.There are three sprinting events which are currently held at the
Olympics and outdoor World Championships: the 100 metres, 200 metres, and 400 metres
These events have their roots in races of imperial measurements which were later altered to
metric: the 100 m evolved from the 100 yard dash,the 200 m distances came from
the furlong(or 1/8 of a mile), and the 400 m was the successor to the 440 yard dash or quartermile race
The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of
42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards), that is usually run as a road race
The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek
soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.
An ultramarathon (also called ultra distance) is any sporting event involving running and
walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi).
Multiday races are ultramarathon running events which are typically either segmented
into daily events of a specified distance or time, or staged so that runners can run as far
as they want, at their own discretion, over a set course or over a set number of days.
Multiday races can range from continuous 48 hour track events to staged
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