Track Tips (Video): Run Sprinters & Hurdlers Backwards From the Finish Line

Track Tips (Video):
Run Sprinters & Hurdlers
Backwards From the Finish Line

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education

If you're like many track coaches, you work with athletes in a number of different event groups. For example, you may have sprinters, hurdlers, and distance runners all training on the track at the same time.

It can be difficult to keep track of them all. Aside from challenging your multi-tasking abilities, it requires you to be in two places at the same time - at the finish line to hear your runners' splits and at the 100m start line to watch your sprinters and hurdlers. (See the article, "Self-Reporting System for Track Practice..." for more help on this situation).


There is a solution this problem, and it's a simple one. Have your sprinters and hurdlers run backwards, starting at the finish line and aiming towards the start line.

"But what about the hurdlers?" you might task. "The distance to the first hurdle will be different if they run backwards."

In fact, the distance is identical, for 80m hurdlers. But for the 100 and 110 hurdles, the distance from the start line will indeed by different. So here's how you handle it.

Measure backwards from the last hurdle line and put down a tape mark that will act as your hurdlers' backwards starting line for that distance. Once they get to the first hurdle, the distance between hurdles will be identical, even if they are running backwards.

Having everything start and finish at the same location puts you in position to keep track of everybody at the same time.

To see a demonstration of coach Jermyn supervising sprinters, hurdlers
and middle distance runners, all from the finish line, watch the video below:

Reference: Dick Moss (Coach, Laurentian University Track/XC & Track North Athletic Club), PE, June 2016.

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