How Long Is A Track And Field Event?

How Long Is A Track And Field Event

Track and field meets are athletic competitions in which athletes compete in a wide array of events. A staple in the Summer Olympic Games, track and field is an ancient collection of sporting events dating back to 776 BC that is still often performed at various skill levels today. If you are new to the sport, you may wonder, how long do track and field meets take? In short, track and field meets do not have a standardized time like other sporting events. Instead, the time to complete a track and field meet is dependent on many factors, such as how many events are being held, which events are being held, and how many teams are competing. At the highest level, track and field meets are made up of 25 total events in the Summer Olympics. The schedule of events is spread out over the course of about a week. Additionally, multi-events, or combined events, such as the decathlon and heptathlon, are often completed over the course of two days. At the high school level, meets typically consist of up to 17 events and are completed in around four hours.


High School Meets

Track and field is one of the most popular high school sports. Due to the wide array of events, many different types of athletes can explore their talents. On average, high school track and field meets take about four hours to complete. Many times, events are held on weekdays, following the school day. However, events that are held on weekends might take longer to complete, as they are likely larger meets. Since there are usually around 17 events at a high school meet, broken into running, jumping, and throwing events, track and field meets take longer to complete than other high school sports.

Factors that Affect Length

There are many factors that can affect the length of a high school track and field meet. If a team must commute to the meet, extra time is taken before and after the event in order to ensure all of the athletes make it to the event. Additionally, the pace at which athletes complete the individual events affects the overall time of the meet. Student-athletes usually cannot leave until every athlete has completed their events, and high school meets can take longer or shorter, depending on the pace. If there are more teams competing at the meet, more athletes must have their turns in each event, taking more time.

The Olympics

Unlike high school track and field meets, the Summer Olympics track and field events are held over the course of roughly a week. For example, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics track and field events were held from July 30th to August 8th. There are multiple reasons why the Summer Olympics track and field events take so long to complete. First, many teams compete in the Summer Olympics. This creates added qualification rounds, which take time. Secondly, the Summer Olympics currently contains 25 unique track and field events. Each event takes time to set up, coordinate, and prepare for. Furthermore, television coverage may affect the schedule and spacing of events.

Multi-Events

By far, the multi-events take the longest time to complete. The women’s heptathlon and the men’s decathlon consist of seven and 10 events, respectively. Due to the large number of competitions, the heptathlon and decathlon are completed over the course of two days. This is due to the large number of events each athlete must complete in a short time frame.

Usually, high school track and field meets do not include either the heptathlon or the decathlon. This is due to the length they take to complete, as well as the large number of events comprising each multi-events competition. While high school athletes can technically compete in multi-events, they are often omitted from high school track and field meets.

FAQ

Do track and field meets have a set time limit?

No, track and field meets do not have a set time limit, unlike soccer or football matches. Instead, the length of a track and field meet is dependent on the number of events that are included, as well as the number of teams that are competing. Usually, high school meets last approximately four hours. Since the Summer Olympics contain far more teams and events, the track and field events are completed over the course of roughly one week. Track and field meets can last however long it takes to complete each event.