A Run For the Ages

Women have been competing with men in every sphere of life. Sports, especially women’s track and field, have women giving performances that are equally as spectacular as those by men.

Women started competing in track and field events in US in the last decade of 1800. Mostly college women took part initially. As the popularity and acceptance of women’s track and field events grew, women in general started trickling in, to compete.

Track and field events were included in the first Olympic Games in 1896. But it was in 1928, the ninth Olympics held in Amsterdam, that the first women’s track and field events were included. 100 meter, 4×100 meters relay, 800 meters, high jump and discus throw were the events introduced in the women’s category. 16 year old student Elizabeth Robinson from US was the recipient of first women’s track and field even in 100 meters. And after that as they say, the rest is history.

Requiring great stamina, endurance, agility and strength, the events for women are not limited to sprints and throws. The events included are 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 5000 meters, and 10000 meters, 100 meters hurdles, 400 meters hurdles, Steeplechase, 4×100 meters relay, high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin and heptathlon.

IAAF founded in 1912, is the international governing body for track and field events. The events are included in every major game like Pan-American Games and Commonwealth Games. In US the USA Track and Field oversees the development, promotion and the handling of the events.

With the commercializing of sports, event track and field races attract money and sponsorships.

The track and field events are divided into two seasons, winter and summer for colleges or regions. During the winters, indoor events are held. Sometimes either the distance to be run is cut due to constrain of space. Events like javelin, hammer and discus throws are not included. Long distance events like the 10000 meters are also not feasible indoors. Indoor tracks have banked turns to compensate for the tight bends and are 200 meters consisting of four to six lanes. Some other odd distance events are added like 300 meters or 500 meters. Multi-track and field events like the pentathlon for women are held instead of the regular heptathlon.

Outdoor track events held in summer have tracks of 400 meters generally surrounding a soccer field. Regular track and field events take place. The tracks made of a rubberized surface consisting of six to ten lanes. Some older track might have a dirt surface.

So, for all these women who is competing and want to compete for these events, I say good luck to you and may your dreams come true!

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