Friday, 11 December 2015

anatomy of the relay race

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, December 11, 2015 with No comments
Relay running: a discussion on how you might prepare to run relays.
I wrote this for "Vetrunner".

Relays are a great way to end a program of otherwise individual events. I say “end” because ideally you’d run all your “important” events first, before getting everybody together to run relays. It is a pity there are not more team competitions in track and field in Canberra, but participation in relays goes some way towards building a little team spirit. Inviting others to join relay teams is a good way to boost attendance and to keep people involved and interested in the sport for longer.

There are also age group records up for grabs, for those who want to organise teams in advance and, dare I say it, arrange for some practise sessions before race day.

Not everyone is familiar with what relays are all about, so let’s start with these thoughts.

1. You will need to familiarise yourself with the track markings. There is a 20 metre take-over zone, preceded by a 10 metre acceleration zone. The baton is exchanged anywhere within the take-over zone.
2. The 4x100m and 4x200m employ a non-visual baton change. The 4x400m and longer relays employ a visual baton change. A visual change is when the outgoing runner looks back.
3. With the non-visual baton change, runners 1 and 3 have the baton in the right hand, while runners 2 and 4 have it in the left.
4. With the visual baton change, runners take the baton in the left hand, then they switch it to their right.
5. The outgoing runner does not “feel” for the baton, but lets the incoming runner sweep it into their hand.
6. There are two effective baton passing methods: up-sweep, or down-sweep. Decide which of these you will use.
7. Finally, in practise for the short relays, check marks ought to be used. A runner needs to know exactly when to take off as the incoming runner approaches.

So to get it all right, it seems obvious that practise is required. There are many relays on our track program. It would be advantageous if relay runners got in touch with each other, regularly, and worked through these techniques. How about a relay training evening to kick things off?

You may need to know the criteria for a valid relay team, for record purposes. Teams must consist of four currently registered members, while up to two may come down one age group and be part of the team. So for example, a W50 team may comprise (4 x W50), or (3 x W50 + 1 x W55), or (2 x W50 + 2 x W55). No other combination is allowed.
It would be interesting to review the current Australian records and see if any of them fall outside these criteria.

Caroline and Ruth at our Christmas function this week.


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