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Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Track & Field, but there are a few quirks about the sport (and the rules) that I wish I could change.
1. Coaches and Athletes who lie about their seed times
In an event with 3 or 4 rounds, it doesn’t really matter what seed time you put in. The position you finish determines your advancement, and the times you run determine the lane draw for the next round.
But in some meets, having a bogus seed time can actually give you a better lane draw, and that is not fair.
For Masters meet, what seed time are you supposed to write down? Your Open PR? Your Age group PR? Or your expected SB?
2. Athletes who celebrate before the finish Line
I’ve covered this on the Blog several times, in Oops, Premature e-Jubilation, and Miscounting Laps. American Molly Huddle left devastated as she lost the 10000m World Championship (2015) bronze medal to teammate Emily Infeld at the finish line.
2b. Athletes who ease up in the heats… and go home
Well, we all know the story of James Dasaolu. Eased up, then did not advance to the next round. Stuff happens. Learn, and move on.
3. Sprinters who deliberately false start
This rule has changed over the years, but there’s nothing worse than getting ready to run, and not run. Then getting ready to run, and not run, again. The fans hate it. The TV networks hate it. And the athletes in the next race hate it, as it delays the meet. There nothing worse than 15 heats taking 90 minutes to complete.
4. Sharing a lane in the 800m
I prefer to bring back the 1972 rule of having 800m run in their own lanes for 300m, and not 100m. But that’s just me. Of course, Shon Grosse thinks The 800 Meters Should Be Run In Lanes !
5. Athletes who make excuses for a bad lane draws
There are some non-preferential lanes, such as Lane 1 for 200m (tight curve), or Lane 8 for 400M (running scared). But someone has to have Lane 1, and someone has to have Lane 8 (or 9).
6. Sprinters who are last to get into their blocks
Carl Lewis was notorious for being the last guy in the blocks. Then Ben Johnson copied him. Watch some of their races.
Can you say, “egos”?
7. Complaining Sprinters who don’t make the relay squad
Only 4 guys can run the 4×100. Or any relay. You can name 6 athletes, so two of them can run the rounds so all 6 get medals. If you get past the qualifying rounds.
But if you aren’t chosen, sorry, the Coach has to make the decision on race day. And there’s a lot to consider (i.e. best starter goes first, fastest guy runs last, etc) as well as all the politics, right Rana Reider? With training camps and all the headaches that goes with the selection, ultimately, you have to name only 4 athletes to the Finals.
And let’s not get started on the order. Because, we have…
8. Complaining Sprinters who want to run Anchor leg
Yes, this is the most common complaint of all relays. In 2008, Usain Bolt ran the 3rd leg. Same with Jeremy Wariner in 2004, running the 3rd leg after winning a gold in the individual 400m. Why? Because all season long, he was used to handing off to Darold Williamson. Don’t mess with Success. (Don’t mess with Texas, either, but that’s a whole other story.)
Remember, the relays is the ONLY time track and field goes from an individual event to a team event. You win and lose as a team.
9. Bad scheduling of meets (AM heats for sprints), no consideration for the double
This is another common headache, and that is 8am or 9am heats for the sprints. In Masters, you have no choice for the sheer volume of athletes in different age groups. But it affects everyone, so get used to waking up at 5am to be ready for a 9am start. If you start, that is. Because it may end up being a straight semi-final once everyone has declared and checked in for the event.
10. Hand timing, and no wind Gauge
Yes, there is nothing is worse than seeing (nwi) next to your 21.99. Argh, especially when your PB is 22.03 (-1.1).
At least the 400m is not affected! Hail to the 400m!
And speaking of wind…
11. (Bonus) NOT switching the sprints around on windy days
There is no reason for track meets not to switch the races around the track to allow for a favourable wind. I rather run in a +3.7 wind than a -3.7 wind.
Why? Because if you run a PB in a wind-aided race, you still ran that time. Your body actually ran that time, so there is muscle memory involved. Sprinting is all about reaching top speed with maximum efficiency, and maintaining it with speed endurance.
Okay, enough of the rant.
What are your top pet peeves about track and field?