Why is a race track, are the athletes given different starting track positions?
Their starting track positions are chosen so that their entire running distance is the same. Different starting locations on the track are what you mean.
Do you mean a staggered start or the starting track positions of the athletes on the track?
Such a start occurs for almost every distance over 100m but is most obvious in the 200 and 400. When maneuvering in lane 8 or another outside lane of the track. Compared to a competitor in lane 1, or the inside of the track, the athlete will run further. The distance run on the curve can be increased by around 2.5m by running on the next outer lane or moving up one lane.
A “headstart” is given to athletes on the outside lanes to account for this discrepancy. And made up for the additional distance they must run on the curve.
As mentioned, the stagger is nowhere near as great for anything above 400. Unless there are many players, in which case you will give some of them a significant head start. But cannot enter lane 1 to do so; until the following straight. Since at such a distance, the difference is negligible.
Think of a doughnut regarding athletes given different starting track positions
The line along the inside diameter of the doughnut, along the edge of the hole. iIs a much shorter distance than the distance around the outside of the doughnut. This is obvious from visual inspection, without the necessity of employing any tools for measurement.
The same thing is true for the curved portions of an oval race track. Again, no extraneous measuring tools are necessary beyond your own two legs.
Go to a track. Walk the inside lane, from straightaway to straightaway, counting your paces; then do the same thing in the outside lane. Not surprisingly, you will need many more steps to cover the distance on the outside compared to walking the inside. You may find it surprising how many more steps you will need, as the difference is substantial.
So, as the other answers point out. The staggered start is necessary to equalize the runners’ distances in the various lanes that will cover. It’s a question of basic geometry.
In small meets, dual-tri, the starter will usually have the schools draw lanes in the first race in lanes. And then rotate with the rest of the races. Considering the middle lanes are considered the most advantageous; will give the school one of those, and they will take turns choosing lanes.
In large meets, usually, the assignment of lanes is done by the perimeters set up in the software for scoring the meet. There are so many ways to set up the meet; randomly in qualifying heats, and then by qualifying heat results moving through later rounds; or you can use qualifying times from previous meets to decide heats and lanes.
Every governing body, league, state, national, and international has its methods, and they vary based on how much weight they put on the qualifying athletes’ entry times; this could easily be a 10-page answer. The staggered starting positions coincide with the track bends to ensure the athletes all run the same distance (Hanley et al., 2001)
A typical oval track is 400 meters in length in one location.
In a 400-meter race, if all the competitors lined up at the starting line. The person on the inside of the bend would cover the least distance and the person on the outside would cover the longest. As a result, the person on the outside begins moving forwards the most, and so on backward.
Since the primary race is that lengthy and the starting differential isn’t as significant. The stagger for a 10,000m track race isn’t nearly as noticeable.
400m Running Track Dimensions & Drawings | Dimensions.com. (n.d.). 400m Running Track Dimensions & Drawings | Dimensions.Com; www.dimensions.com. Retrieved August 27, 2022, from https://www.dimensions.com/element/track-and-field-400m-running-track
Hanley, B., Casado, A., & Renfree, A. (2001, January 1). Frontiers | Lane and Heat Draw Have Little Effect on Placings and Progression in Olympic and IAAF World Championship 800 m Running. Frontiers; www.frontiersin.org. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspor.2019.00019/full
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