In many parts of the world, the sport of track and field is very popular. Actually, the sport of track and field includes many different sports. In some of these sports, the athletes run on a track. The athletes race against each other to find out who can run the fastest. Some of these track events require great speed for a short distance. In the 100 metre race, the athletes must sprint as quickly as possible. Some athletes can run 100 metres in only 10 seconds!
Other track races are much longer, and these events require great endurance. In the marathon, the athletes must run a distance of 42 kilometres. Because this is such a long distance, the athletes cannot run too quickly at the start. Instead, it is important to run at a steady pace and keep some energy for the end of the race. Some athletes can run the marathon in little more than two hours!
Some races are called middle distance races because the distance is not very short, yet it is also not very long. For example, the 1500 metres requires a mixture of speed and endurance. Some athletes can run the 1500 metres in less than four minutes! There are also some track events for people who use a wheelchair. Wheelchair athletes can race even faster than athletes who run!
Some of the races on the track are for teams of four runners. Each athlete carries a small stick called a baton. After running a certain distance, the runner must hand the baton to a team-mate, who then runs with the baton. To win this race, the team’s runners must be very fast, but they must also cooperate very well with each other.
In the field events, athletes compete by jumping or throwing. In the long jump, the athletes run up to a line, and then try to jump as far forward as possible. In the high jump, the athletes must try to jump over a very high bar. Another field event is called the shot put. In this event, the athletes try to throw a heavy metal ball as far as possible. Yet another field event is called the javelin throw. In this event, the athletes try to throw a long spear as far as possible. Athletes who compete in the throwing events must be very strong!
Both men and women compete in the sport of track and field. Many boys and girls enjoy track and field as part of their education in school. Those boys and girls who have much talent, and who work very hard, might someday compete in the Olympics. But for most people, track and field is just a fun and healthy way to get exercise and to make friends.