Hosting an athletics event for a school, workplace, or local community can keep people active and healthy, teach them valuable lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship, as well as inspiring them to explore sports more seriously. There are a multitude of athletic activities that can be hosted, with a range of track and field equipment available to fit the skillsets of the athletes, the dimensions of the location, and budgetary requirements. It doesn’t even have to be complicated – line marking equipment can create a 400m running track for sprinting, long distance running, and everything in between. If you’re interested in or need help hosting an athletics event, read on to find out more about what sports you can try, what track and field equipment is available, and other considerations to ensure the event runs smoothly.
Running can cover a variety of distances, with the main events consisting of 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, and 10,000m, all undertaken on a 400m long track. Whilst you don’t have to stage every distance, marking out a 400m track can give you the flexibility to stage whichever events you require. This might seem like a difficult task, but marking a 400m track requires simple equipment and basic mathematical knowledge.
Once you have found a suitable grassy area of space for a 400m track, lines will need to be marked to identify the start, finish, lanes between athletes, and the corresponding distances of events. These can be applied effectively and easily with line marking equipment, a device which uses a pressurising system to produce a spray of paint or other mixture with wheels that are spaced out in order to direct the spray evenly. Line marking paint lasts from 2-3 months, can withstand rainfall, and shouldn’t negatively impact the growth of grass.
A 400 metre running track essentially consists of two semi-circles with a radius of 36.5 metres each, joined by two straights measuring 84.39 metres long, with a distance of 72 metres between each straight. According to the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations), a standard running track must include a minimum of four lanes with a width of 1.22 metres, marked by white lines that are 5 cm wide.
To begin the line marking process, you should use a setting out kit to mark out the lanes at each end. This will be the straight section of the track – with the distance between each end measuring to 84.39 metres. Fix a nylon string line tightly, at ground level, between the corresponding spikes at each end of the straight. Fill the line marking equipment with paint and ensure the dispenser is set to 5cm wide, and then mark the lanes using the tracking guide established by the string line.
After these lanes are painted, measure across the infield (the inside of the track) at the end of each straight section and mark the centre of the infield with steel spikes. Then, position the line marking machine at one end of the inside running line you have just marked, fix a nylon rope between the spike at the centre of the infield and a safe attachment point on the top of your line marking equipment.
Here, it is of utmost importance to maintain consistent tension on the rope as the radius lines will be marked from the inside straight section to what will be the opposite straight section. Adjust the rope tightly between the spike at the centre of the field and the machine each time, and there should be a distance of 73 metres between the inside lane of each straight and a perfectly curved corner, marking out a 400m track.
To make the start and finish lines, you will need to place steel spikes at each side of the track at the finish line of the home field straight section. Measure exactly 100 m along the straight from each spike, and then hammer in another pair of spikes for the starting line, all before fixing a string line tightly across the track at ground level between each pair of spikes.
Follow the string lines and mark the start-finish lines for the 100 m race with your line marking equipment. Afterwards, lay out the staggered starting lines at the end of each straight section, starting at the second lane from the inside. Each starting line is 7.036 m ahead of the previous as you work across the track toward the outside lane.
It is important to be careful with your measurements and always check twice before using the line marking equipment. If the above methodology sounds complicated, it can be explained in further detail here, with extra diagrams and further mathematics,
If your event has judges and timekeepers, you must also remember to ensure that they can clearly see the start and finish of the race, both they and the runners shouldn’t have to look into the sun approaching the finish, and all races must be run anti-clockwise.
Any good athletics event will have a range of sporting disciplines available, with something suitable for every contestant. Beyond running, athletics contains a surprisingly broad variety of sports, with jumping and throwing events suiting what can often be different physical attributes to running.
For throwing events, before acquiring any field equipment, safety measures must be carefully obeyed. Discuses, shot puts, and javelins are dangerous and potentially fatal athletic instruments that must be handled with absolute care. The angle of the throwing circle should aim towards the centre of the field – and this area should be cleared of people or other obstructions. If this is a casual event, it might be a good idea to stage the track and field events separately, unlike the Olympics or other professional athletic events whereby they take place simultaneously, simply to ensure safety for everyone involved.
For discus and shotput events, cage netting certifies that any wayward or misjudged throws are obstructed from flying outside of the allotted throwing circle. This gives athletes more confidence and control over their throws and helps guarantee the safety of all those taking part in the event. These disciplines, alongside javelin, are excellent sports for those uncertain about running either long or short distances, as it demonstrates an entirely different physical skillset.
High jump is a compulsively enjoyable sport that encourages a friendly and healthy competitiveness between athletes, as they work to clear a shared obstacle. Like other field events, this discipline does have its risks, and it is vital that adequate landing mats and high jump stands are installed, with platforms that have no risk of injuring the athletes as they land. If the metal bar the athletes are attempting to clear seems dangerous for those taking part, perhaps in the context of school competition, a flexibar can be employed to minimise risk if they don’t clear the jump. This setup can also be additionally used for pole vault.
Areas dedicated to long and triple jump can also be created with a sand pit, as well as a foundation trough and ‘take-off’ board. If you’re organising an athletic event for younger athletes, this event can be a fun, risk-free way to promote active living and good sportsmanship.
It is important that you employ line marking equipment carefully to allocate throwing and jumping areas in the centre of the track. If there is an official near the throwing zone (perhaps to denote how each throw has travelled), ensure that they have a nearby area to stand in that is safe from the throws. They should also not be looking into the sun to make sure they can see any potential athletic instruments travelling toward them. Even with these measures in place, it might be a sensible idea to have sufficient first aid cover in place, in an effort to entirely minimise risk.
Formed in 1959, Sportsmark has over half a century of experience of providing the supply and installation of sports equipment, as well as line marking machines and groundsman’s equipment. These can be found all at reasonable prices and, supplying everything from landing mats to throwing circles, Sportsmark covers every discipline you can think of. We also provide sports ground line marking, and have even transitioned into car park and road marking. If any of these services sound of interest to you, contact us today at email@example.com and 08000 197 733.