Browse Lessons
Assign Lesson

Help Teaching subscribers can assign lessons to their students to review online!

Assign Lesson to Students

Share/Like This Page

Track and Field: Running

Track and Field: Running

Track and field events can be one of the most exciting sports in which to participate and to watch.  While athletes compete against others, they also compete against themselves trying to best their previous performances.  Through grit and determination, track and field athletes always strive to improve their performances, even if it’s just by seconds or centimeters.  Athletes compete in secondary schools, colleges, and universities and in national and world competitions such as the Olympic Games.
In this lesson, the focus is on events that rely on an athlete’s running ability.
There are a variety of track events of various lengths and formations from sprints and hurdles to longer foot races and marathon runs.  Perhaps the most famous track event is the 100-meter dash when runners sprint at top speeds of over 20 miles per hour.  The world record for the 100-meter dash is 9.58 seconds held by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. (That’s 23.4 mph!)  The fastest woman in the world remains Florence Griffith-Joyner of the U.S.A. whose record time of 10.49 seconds in the 100-meter dash has stood for 32 years.

Another type of sprint involves obstacles called hurdles which stand as high as 42 inches.  There are ten evenly spaced hurdles over a 110-meter course for the men and 100 meters for the women.  Think about it – sprinters have to jump 3.5-foot obstacles, and they still complete the race in about 13 seconds.  That’s just three seconds slower than the dash which has no hurdles.
Longer foot races test the stamina of runners.  World competitions include foot races of 800, 1500, 5000, and 10000 meters, and the BIG one – a 26.2-mile marathon.  The records for the Olympic marathon are 2:06:32 hours for men and 2:23:07 hours for women.  Prefer to walk instead?  Try a 50-kilometer speed walk, and if you can do it in less than 3:32:33 hours, you will break the world record.
Teamwork is important in track as well.  This is exemplified in the 4x100-meters relay and the 4x400-meters relayIn relays, four runners take turns carrying a baton along the track, and after 100 meters (or 400 in the longer version), they hand the baton off to a teammate who runs the next leg.  This continues until the last runner carries the baton across the finish line.  The handoff can make all the difference in winning the race.  A sloppy exchange where the runners have to slow down can cost precious seconds in a tight race.  Even worse, if a runner were to drop the baton, you can forget about winning that race!
If you ever watch a world-class track event, take some time to marvel at the gift of speed and agility shown by the athletes.  These men and women are among the best runners of the human race!

Related Worksheets: