HomeSportsAthleticsTrack and Field Events – Different Types of Events in Athletics
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Track and Field Events – Different Types of Events in Athletics

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Athletics is a wide collection of sporting events that are comprised of different physical activities like walking, jumping, running, and throwing. There are various types of events in Athletics- Sprints, long jump, triple jump, Relay races, and throwing events are the major ones. Each athletic event differs from one another in many ways. Track and field events are one of the most common sports played all around the world due to their lack of need for expensive equipment. Athletics generally accounts for individual player performances or team performances calculated by adding different individual performances. It is a part of the Olympics sports since its inception in 1896. International Athletic Events are overseen by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

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IAAF kreedon

Now, not many people know this but the word Athletics has a little different interpretation in different parts of the World. In North America, it is synonymous with sports in general. The word Track and Field is generally used to signify most events in athletics in the US and Canada. Anyways, let us get into the details of the different events in Athletics or the types of events in Athletics, and let’s know how each athletics events differs from one another.

The most general divisions of Athletic Events are track and field, road running, cross-country running, and race walking.

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Complete List of Events in Athletics

Event Type Event Name Events Variations
Track Events Sprints 100 m, 200 m, 400 m
Middle Distance 800 m, 1500 m
Long Distance 3000 m, Steeplechase, 5000 m, 10,000 m
Hurdles 110/100 m, 400 m
Relays 4X100 m, 4X400 m
Jump Events Long Jump  
High Jump  
Triple Jump  
Pole Vault  
Throw Events Discus Throw  
Javelin Throw  
Hammer Throw  

The events categorized under the track and field events involve skills like running, jumping, and throwing. These events occur on a running track or a field for throwing and jumping events, hence the name Track and Field Events. The Track and Field events are divided into 3 broad categories: track events, field events, and combined events. The field events are again of two types: jump, and throws.

Track Events in Athletics

Sprints (Running events in Athletics)

Sprint KreedOn

Races over short distances are sprints. It is focused on reaching the maximum speed and covering short distances as quickly as possible. There are three sprinting events that occur in the Olympics and outdoor World Championships: 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters.

mohammed anas kreedon Also Read | Biography of India’s fastest Sprinter – Mohammed Anas Yahiya 

Middle Distance (Running events in Athletics)

Middle dist Kreedon
credits: Runners World

The 800 m, 1500m, and a mile run are generally included in the middle distances events. Endurance and race tactics are more important than the speed beyond the sprinting races. In some places, the 3000 m event is also a part of the middle distance track events.

pv sindhu

Long Distance (Running events in Athletics)

Long Dist Kreedon
Events in Athletics: Long Distance (Credits: Irish Times)

The 3000m, 5000m, and 10000m are some common long-distance track events. Stamina, endurance, race tactics, and similar skills become much more important in these types of events in athletics.

Relay Races (Running events in Athletics)

relay race kreedon
credits: Rio 2016

What are the types of relay races?

There are basically 2 types of relay races –

1: 4X100 M

2: 4X400 M

The only team event in track and field events are the relay races. A team of 4 athletes, each run their specific distances and hands over a baton in a designated area to the next runner of the team. The most common relay races are 4×100 m and 4×400 m. Also, some less common relays are 4×200 m, 4×800 m, and 4×1500 m.

The major rule of relay race is – every athlete has to carry a baton & hand it over to the next team member without dropping it. The distance covered by each athlete depends on the type of relay race (4X100m or 4X400m)
The baton exchange must take palce within a 20m changeover box. This box is located 10m before & 10m after the start of each leg, starting from the 2nd athlete.

Hurdling (Running events in Athletics)

Hurdles KreedOn

Races with obstacles or hurdles are under this category. Popular events in the Olympics that come under the category are 100 m hurdles for Women, 110 m hurdles for men, and 400 m hurdles for both sexes. Also, some American competitions include 300m hurdles.

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The most prominent hurdles events are –
1: 110 meters hurdles for men
2: 100 meters hurdles for women
3: 400 meters hurdles (both sexes)

Jump Events in Athletics

Long Jump (Jumping events in Athletics)

Hurdles KreedOn
Credits Gfycat

Athletes sprint on a track followed by a jumping board and a sandpit. The athletes must jump before a marked line. The achieved distance is then measured from the nearest point of sand disturbed by the athlete’s body. A standing long jump event also exists with the traditional version.

The long jump can be broken down into 4 phases –
1: Run up,
2: Takeoff
3: Flight
4: Landing
The landing pit of long jump should have a minimum width of 9 ft. (2.75 m). And the distance between the takeoff mark & the nearer edge of the landing pit must be a minimum of 3 ft. (1 m) & maximum of 10 ft (3 m) in length.

Triple Jump (Jumping events in Athletics)

The triple jump event has a similar setup as that of the long jump. The only change is 2 steps that the athlete takes before jumping into the pit. The process includes hop, step, and jump. Standing triple jump is very uncommon from the competitive perspective but has seen some usage as drills in other sports.

The triple jump can be divided into 3 major step-
1: Hop
2: Step
3: Jump
Triple Jump Kreedon
credits: Canyon track

High Jump (Jumping events in Athletics)

track and field events | KreedOn
Credits Giphy

The athletes run a short run-up and take off to jump over a horizontal bar to land on a cushioned bed on the other side. The height of the bar is recorded as the registered height jumped by the athlete.

Pole Vault (Jumping events in Athletics)

track and field events | KreedOn
credits: Texas Athletics

The athlete runs down a strip of track, plants the pole in a metal box, and vaults over a horizontal bar at a certain height before letting go of the pole and falling backward onto landing mattresses. While earlier versions used metal, wooden, or bamboo, the modern poles are generally made from artificial materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass.

Throw Events in Athletics

Shot Put

Shot put Kreedon events in athletics
credits: SimpliFaster

The round shot styled ammunition used for the sport, hence the term shot put. The athlete throws a 16 pound (7.26kg) (4kg for women) shot put from within a circular area of 7 feet in diameter.

Also Read: Story of Toor Tejinder Singh Pal: Asia’s No 1. shot-putter from India

Discus Throw

Discuss Kreedon events in athletics | track and field events | KreedOn
credits: The Independent

A heavy disc takes place of the spherical shot put in this event. The disc is 2kg and 22cm in diameter.

mary kom

Javelin Throw

Javeline Kreedon events in athletics

A short run-up to the foul line and then the athlete releases the javelin. The current javelin specifications are 2.2 to 2.3 m and 600 g for women, 2.6 to 2.7 m in length, and 800 grams in weight for men.

Neeraj Chopra BiographyAlso Read: Neeraj Chopra Biography: The Man Who Is Conquering Dream Distances

Hammer Throw

Hammer Kreedon events in athletics
credits: Wired

A metal ball weighing 16 pounds (4kg for women) is attached to a wire measuring 1.175m-1.215m. This is rotated and thrown in a direction angled within 34.92 degrees.

The standard weight of hammer is – 7.26kg for men, 4kg for women

Events in Athletics: Combined Events

The most common combined events are Men’s decathlon and Women’s heptathlon. The athlete participates in a series of events, earning points in each event, and then the total tally of added points decides the winner. Due to the limitations of the stadium, the indoor version of combined events features fewer events: the men’s heptathlon and the women’s pentathlon.

Road Running Events in Athletics

road running Kreedon events in athletics | track events in athletics | KreedOn
credits: Swindon Harriers

Unlike the track and field events where the run is on proper running tracks, this division comprises of events that are run on the road. These events are run on established roads on the measured courses. They are long-distance runs ranging from 5 km to 42.2 km in a marathon. Aerobic endurance and stamina are key to success in such events. The nine common distances for road races that IAAF recognizes: 10 kilometers, 15 kilometers, 20 kilometers, half-marathon (21.097 km), 25 kilometers, 30 kilometers, marathon (42.195 km), 100 kilometers, and Ekiden marathon relay.

Cross Country Running

track and field events - Cross Country - Kreedon
credits: Very Well Fit

It is the natural terrain version of long-distance running. In this event, teams or individual runs through natural terrain courses, comprising of grass, hill, flat ground, gravel road, etc. The courses are generally 4-12 km long. An ideal cross country course has a loop of 1,750 to 2,000 meters according to IAAF. It should be covered by grass, as much as possible, and include rolling hills “with smooth curves and short straights”.

Also Read: Hima Das Biography: The Story of India’s Golden Girl

It is acceptable for local conditions to make dirt or snow the primary surface. The courses should be able to minimize running on roads or any other macadamized paths. Parks and golf courses are often suitable locations for the same. The team score is simply on the basis of the positions at which each player crosses the finish line. Each player’s score is the same as his/her position and the team score is the total of all the individual scores.

track and field events - race walking | KreedOn
credits: Singapore Athletics

This is one of the most unique events in athletics. Race Walking is the kind of foot-race in which one foot should be in contact with the floor at all times. The race judges who are on the sidelines for the same are responsible for the assessment. The two racewalking distances contested at the Summer Olympics are the 20 kilometers race walk (men and women) and 50 kilometers race walk (men only).

KreedOnRead More | Top 11 Best Running shoes under 5000


How long is a cross country run?

Cross-country is a running sport that takes place on a measured distance of 5000 m (3.1 miles) for seniors & 2 mile course for the Jr. over varied surfaces and terrain.

How do you breathe when you run?

The best way to breathe during running is to inhale and exhale using both your nose and mouth combined. 

What are the steps in triple jump?

There are three steps to execute a triple jump: the “hop” phase, the “bound” or “step” phase, and the “jump” phase.

How many types of athletic events are there?

There are six disciplines in athletic events: track and field, road running, race walking, cross country running, mountain running, and trail running.

What is a hurdle race?

A track event in which artificial barriers or obstacles must be leaped. Popular events in the Olympics that come under the category are 100 m hurdles for Women, 110 m hurdles for men, and 400 m hurdles for both sexes.

What are the 5 types of track and field events?

Middle distance
Long distance

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Raghav Heda
Raghav Heda
Raghav is a sports enthusiast and a content writer at Kreedon. Being a former state-level cricketer and Captain of the Basketball team at IIT Patna, he understands the problems faced by a student-athlete in India. He is also a die-hard NBA fan and has been following the league and American Sports Media for long. Comparing the Indian sports economy to American Sports' was something that motivated him to work for the development of Indian Sports.



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