What is Track & Field?

Track & Field within athletics can be broken down into 3 categories – running equipment, throwing equipment and jumping equipment. When purchasing equipment for a stadium or athletics club, each of the 3 categories must be considered as to which events within the category will be held and to what standard or quality of equipment is required.

Running Equipment

Out of the 3 categories, running equipment requires the least amount of athletics equipment and quite often these are the more popular events to participate in. All running races start from a specific position on the track. To improve an athlete’s starting speed, Starting Blocks are often used to position the athlete correctly to maximise performance. All running races are measured on the speed at which an athletic completes the set distance whilst in competition with other athletes. To ensure that the competing athletes all start at the same time, officials equipment such as a starting pistol is commonly used to identify the start of the race.

At higher levels of competition, stadiums will use lane markers, a starters rostrum, electronic timing systems plus other pieces of officials equipment to further regulate the competition. Once the race is started, both hurdles and relay races require additional running equipment. Hurdles are available in both competition hurdles and training hurdles of which there are a range of options in terms of quality and budget. Relay batons are available in either aluminium or plastic and in different colours.

Throwing Equipment

There are 4 throwing events in track and field, the Javelin throw, Discus throw, Shot Put and Hammer Throw. All 4 events are the same in that the result is measured on the distance the throwing equipment has been thrown although each event has its own specification of equipment used which results in 4 different techniques to get the maximum distance. At high level, athletes will have a specific requirement such as a specific flex of javelin to achieve their best throws.

At lower levels and for beginners the throwing equipment is more generic (and less expensive) and is often purchased for use by multiple users. Due to the dangers of a miss-thrown discus or hammer (as a result of the throwing techniques), a throwing cage is often used to protect other users of the track or field whilst a throwing event is taking place. The techniques of throwing each of the 4 pieces of throwing equipment require some movement within the designated throw area. Javelin has a run up and discus, shot put and hammer throw have a ‘throwing circle’ to identify what space the athlete has to move within to maximise the potential distance achievable. Shot put is slightly different is that it requires minimal movement of the legs and feet and a shot stop board is usually used as a kick board for athletes to get as close to the edge of the circle as possible again to maximise distance.

Jumping Equipment

We can further sub categorise jumping equipment into vertical jumping equipment and horizontal jumping equipment. Vertical jumping covers both High Jumpand Pole Vault where an athlete tries to jump the maximum height in competition with other jumpers. Pole vault is slightly more technical than any other jumping event and vaulting poles are very specific to an individual athlete’s needs. However, both pole vault and high jump use a similar set up in design although pole vault is much larger due to the extra height that can be jumped in comparison with high jump.

Both use a jumping lath to identify the height than an athlete must clear, uprights to hold the lath in position at the set height and a landing area or landing bed so the athlete to safely land following the jump. Horizontal jumping covers both long jump and triple jump which use the exact same jumping equipment although set up slightly differently. Both events use a runway in which an athlete builds up speed prior to ‘taking-off’. Within this runway is a take-off board or quite often a series of take-off boards. Only one can be used at any one time and the remaining boards can be covered with a blanking board. Following take off, an athlete hopes to achieve maximum horizontal distance and will land within a sandpit.

The jump is measured from take-off board to the closest indentation within the sand following the landing. At all levels of any competition in throwing and jumping, the competition must be measured and we offer a wide range of officiating and measuring equipment to meet your quality and budget needs.