Currently, there are 44 different events that are part of the track and field competitions no matter what type of a competition is being held. These events can be firstly divided into two different categories on the basis of areas where they are being held. First category is the track events and this category includes all of the running as well as walking events that are part of the given competition. The second category in this respect include field events such as throwing and vaulting events. Besides these two categories that are also two categories that combine events from these two categories and they are decathlon and heptathlon.
As we have previously mentioned, track events include all the running and walking events. However, these events can also be divided into separate categories. One of the categories of track events is sprint races, the races that require running on a track over 100, 200 or 400 meters. The races in this category are very quick and they demand much bigger muscle mass of the runners in comparison to the runners on longer distance. Winners of these sprint races together with the winner of the marathon often get the most respect in every track and field sporting events including Olympic Games.
The second category of track events are the middle distance races. These races, together with the marathon, are usually considered to be the toughest races out of all track and field disciplines. The reason for that is that runners in these races must combine physical strength and the endurance in order to achieve respectable results. This category include races on 800 meters, 1500 meters and they are also being held in every track and field competitions including Olympic Games.
Third category are long distance races. This category includes races on 3,000 meter Steeplechase, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, Marathon (42, 195 kilometers or 26.2 miles). Unlike sprint or middle distance races, the long distance races have little to do with the strength but rather with endurance and the right intake of oxygen while running. This category included 3,000 meter Steeplechase in which runners run 3,000 meters with different types of obstacles including classic hurdles as well as water obstacles.
Fourth category of track events are hurdles races. This category includes 100 meters hurdles for women, 110 meters hurdles for men and 400 meters hurdles. For the races in this category several factors are very important and those are the strength, the speed and the ability to coordinate the speed and the jumping over the hurdles.
The fifth category are relays. These relays are mostly team races and they are two types of relays: 4 x 100 and 4 x 400. The rules for these races are very strict and they easily get broken and because of that a lot of teams get disqualified and these races are together with sprint race the most interesting races of the track and field events. The final category of the track events includes 20 kilometer race walk as well as 50 kilometer race walk and many athletes who tried this discipline will tell you that this is probably the most difficult discipline of the track and field events.
The second category of athletic events are field events. These events can also be divided into several categories. The first category of the field events are horizontal jumps and they include long jump and triple jump. In long jump, jumpers start running from one end of the runway and then they take a jump in the sand. The distance of the jump is measured from the 20 centimeters wide board to the mark when athlete first broke the sand. The second category of the field events are vertical jumps and there are two disciplines in this category and they are high jump and pole vault. In high jump, athletes are competing in who get jump higher over the pole. On the other hand, in pole vault athletes are also competing who can jump higher but this time athletes use pole in order to get higher jump. One difference between these two disciplines is that the heights in pole vault are much bigger than in high jump.
The final category of the field events are the throws. There are several types of throws and they are Discus Throw, Hammer Throw, Javelin Throw, and Shot Put. For throwing discus, the most important thing is the footwork through which athletes rotate their bodies in order to throw the discus the best they can. In Hammer Throw, just like in Discus Throw, athletes are throwing hammer from the cage and both use the body rotation in order to throw the best they can. The Javelin Throw includes the runway on which athletes start running and before they throw the javelin and they must do that before reaching the foul line, otherwise their throw will not be counted.
There are several characteristic that are common for all field events and some of them are: