Generally, track and running is an athletics sport that takes place on a running track. Events include sprints, jumping, cross country running, throwing and racewalking. Most of these competitions are individual sports, but some are team events. Most countries have national championships in these sports. Often, these national championships play a major role in selection for major competitions.
In addition to the basic events, relay races are the most common team event. These races are typically made up of four runners who each complete a specified distance. The first runner runs the first leg, while the second and third runners run the next legs. They then hand the baton off to the fourth runner, who runs the final leg.
Athletes are timed at virtually all track and field competitions. At the major level, competitors are allowed three attempts. If they fail to meet the qualifying standards, their marks are erased.
Historically, there were several types of tracks: crushed cinders, dirt and rock. Eventually, synthetic tracks became standard.
Most running tracks are constructed of asphalt or rubberized artificial surfaces, so athletes can compete in any type of weather. However, some races are conducted on traditional, flattened cinder tracks. These were popular in the early 20th century.
Sprinting is a short distance event that emphasizes top speed. Athletes begin in a crouching position at the start line. As the race progresses, they lean forward in the starting blocks.
Athletes also have to stay within the designated lane. The width of the lane is set by track regulations. If a runner approaches another runner too quickly, he or she will be disqualified.