MYTH OR FACT ?

Kirsteen Farrance – Myth or Fact #2

‘Is it IN or is it OUT?’

IAAF rules quoted below are from the IAAF Competition Rules 2014-2015

www.iaaf.org

We have a lot of white lines in our sport. The most notable are the lines that mark the lanes on the track. However, there are also white lines out there for all field events, although some aren’t permanently marked on the ground.

So, what do these white lines mean? What are the rules that are associated with these white lines?

PART 1 – LET’S START WITH THE TRACK!

The white lines on a circular track are 5 cm wide. They mark the lanes and the start finish lines.

The distance you run is measured from the leading edge of the start line to the leading edge of the finish line. For example, if you stand at the start of the 100m, the leading edge is the very first edge of the line. That’s why you put your hands where you put your hands when you get down on the blocks or your toe in a distance race (IAAF Rule 162.3)!

Did you know that, when running in lanes, the white line on your inside (on your left) is not part of your lane? Only the white line on your outside (on your right) is part of your lane. That means you can run on the white lane on your right, but not on the one on your left! If you run on the line on your left on a bend you are deemed to have gained a material advantage as you have not covered the measured distance of the race.

The rule that can lead to the most disqualifications, and a lot of confusion, in a track event is IAAF Rule 163.3 – Lane Infringement.

It is a MYTH that athletes should ‘run on the line’ when running a bend. This will lead you to be DISQUALIFIED!

Rule 163.3 (a) states: ‘In all races run in lanes, each athlete shall keep within his allocated lane from start to finish. This shall apply to any portion of a race run in lanes.

163.3 (b) states in part ‘In all races (or part of any races) not run in lanes, an athlete running on the bend, ………, shall not step or run on or inside the curb or line marking the applicable border…..’

The rule then goes on to state: ‘Except as stated in Rule 163.4, if the Referee is satisfied, on report of a Judge or Umpire or otherwise, that an athlete has violated the Rule, he shall be disqualified’.

It is a strongly emphasised here that the rule does not state anything about the number of times an athlete’s foot strikes the inside line before they are disqualified or that the Umpire/Referee has to count the number of foot falls before an athlete is disqualified. If you run on the line and the Referee is satisfied you have violated Rule 163.3 (a), you will be disqualified!

Rule 163.3 must be read in conjunction with Rule 163.4 which states:

An athlete shall not be disqualified if he:

(a)   Is pushed or forced by another person or steps or runs outside his lane or on or inside the curb or line marking the applicable border, or

(b)   Steps or runs outside his lane in the straight, any straight part of the diversion from the track for the steeplechase water jump or outside the outer lane on the bend,

with no material advantage thereby gained and no other athlete being jostled or obstructed so as to impede his progress.

The added note explains what is deemed to be ‘material advantage’ which is improving your position by any means including removing yourself from a ‘boxed’ position in the race by having stepped or run inside the inside edge of the track

What about the Coloured Lines on the track?

Yes, there are lots of other coloured lines on the track! And, just to confuse you more, different colours can be used depending on the colour of your track! There are:

  • Seven different coloured markings for hurdle placements
  • A green and white line for the 800m start
  • The green breakline
  • Different coloured lines to define the relay changeover zones and acceleration zones for the different relays

The ones that have specific rules associated with them, which may result in an individual or a team being disqualified, that have not already been mentioned are:

The Green Breakline: IAAF Rule 163.5 states: ’….. the 800m event shall be run in lanes and far as the nearer edge of the breakline where athletes may leave their respective lanes’. If an athlete leaves their lane prior to the breakline, they will be disqualified!

Relay Markings: Whatever the colour of the markings that define the relay changeover zone, the IAAF rules that apply are:

  • Rule 170.7                                           Passing the baton for any relay race
  • Rule 170.8                                           Obstruction during relay races
  • Rule 170.18                                         Acceleration Zone
  • Rule 170.20 and 170.21                  Line up and position in the Changeover Zone

In the next edition, Part 2 of ‘Is it IN or is it OUT?’ will be Field Events