Does anyone remember the Irving Berlin song “Anything Goes”?
The old cliche of “it’s ain’t over ’till it’s over” truly applies to the 2009 CIS Mens 4x200m Relay in Windsor, Ontario. The CIS is Canada’s equivalent to the NCAA in the USA.
I represented McGill at 3 different National Championships, and every 4×200 meter relay was an experience. My very first Nationals was 1985 on this very track, so it brought back memories.
The entire production including camera work and colour commentary was done by a skeleton crew consisting of fellow Toronto Track runners Adrian Lambert and Jeff Barr. The web site for all the 2009 CIS videos can be found at University of Toronto’s Mike Del Monte’s website at www.trackinthecity.com.
The full results can be found at the CIS website.
In this race, the favorites with the fastest qualifying times are in lanes 4 and 5 – Sherbrooke (in Green) and York (in Red)
A bad first exchange by York puts them from 1st to 4th.
A dropped baton by Sherbrooke on the 2nd exchange puts them from 1st to 4th with a great recovery. Remember, points are points just for finishing.
The turning point of the race was the 3rd leg by York. As Calgary (in 2nd position) had to run wide to avoid a collision, York sneaks in on the inside to move up to 2nd spot, the eventaully takes the lead and eventually wins the race.
Thoughts and Strategies
The CIS uses an open exchange rather than the standard 20 meter exchange zone.
Thus, in theory, if you have a strong 200m runner, he could run 210m or more with a weaker runner running 190m or less.
You definitely want to put your fastest 2 sprinters first to get in the lead. The 2nd runner must also be aggressive to break for the pole, but not too aggressive by impeding on the other runners for a DQ.
If the runner does not step out of the lane to retrieve the dropped baton, then the team is not disqualified.
Note the chaos of the exchange zone after the initial runners exchange batons. The incoming runner just stands there like a bump on a log after giving the baton. Hence, it is better to be in front and avoid the mess.
With the speed of the incoming runner, the noise to hear the “stick” or “up” command, the tight lanes, and the sheer excitement of a championship meet, blind baton exchanges are dangerous. Especially the 2nd and 3rd exchanges when everyone is lined-up together at the line with pushing and shoving going on.