Last Updated on November 16, 2011 by Jimson Lee
The recent performance of Christophe Lemaitre at the 2010 Decanation in his “hometown” of Annecy reminded me the 2 most important elements for racing the 100 meters:
- Do Not False Start
- Stay in Your Lane
The Decanation is a unique team event where you have the 10 individual deca events. Sorry, no hammer throw or steeplechase!
For those who follow Christophe Lemaitre, he is from Annecy, the western part of France near the Alps.
So when he stepped out of his lane in the 100 meter race, he was not disqualified. You can argue the French officials turned a blind eye. Plus the paid attendance would have taken a fit to see him DQ’ed. Like Usain Bolt, people paid the entry fee at the gate simply to see him run, reportedly over 10,000 spectators.
It is not uncommon to see people leave the stands after the 100 meters. But at the end, Michael Rodgers won in 10.13 from Lemaitre’s 10.16 (wind -0.8).
PHOTO CREDITS: Lionel Cironneau, ASSOCIATED PRESS (link)
Lane Violations – Why did this happen?
if you are too strong for your own good, I can see a sprinter coming out of the blocks so hard that would cause a stumble.
But the main reason why we see this lane violation is the way the track is configured.
There are 4 ways to build a track: Equal Quadrant Tracks, Non-Equal Quadrant Track, The IAAF Track, and Double-Bend Tracks. For a primer, see my previous article Track Dimensions: How Many Feet is 400 meters?
The painted lane lines from the curve are solid lines, whereas the lane lines for the 100 meters are also solid UNTIL the outside curve for Lane 8, then it becomes a broken staggered line. (sounds like a driving school exam, no?)
Unfortunately, from the 100 meter sprinter point of view, if you follow the solid lines, you will be guided to the right, and therefore step out of your “100 meter lane”. Instant DQ. Unless you are a superstar running on your home soil.
In fact, the 2008 European Cup was held on the same track in Annecy and three 100 meter sprinters stepped out of their lane.
Derek Hansen wrote a detailed piece on this topic called Your Eyes, Sprinting, and Gaze? The Importance of Visual-motor Control. A good read.
Track Lanes Examples
Here is a picture taken at Stanford’s Outdoor track, or more precisely the Cobb Track and Angell Field. I love this track, except for Vin Lanana yelling at me to get off during varsity hours. Note the broken or staggered lines for the 100 meters and 110 meter hurdles.
Here is picture of another track but the 100 meter lines should be staggered lines, not solid lines. Talk about confusing!