(Last Updated on : 23/01/2012)
Middle distance race is a common tract event which incorporates 800 metres and 1500 metres. Apart from this, the 3000 metres can also be classified as a middle distance event. The 880 yard run or a half mile was the forebear of 800 m distance and it has its roots in competition in the United Kingdom in 1830s. The 1500 m came about as a result of running three laps of a 500 m track, which was commonplace in continental Europe in the 20th century.
Runners start the race from standing position along a curved starting line and after hearing the sound of starter's pistol they head towards the innermost track to follow the quickest route to the finish. In case of 800 meters race athletes begin at staggered starting point before the turn in the track and they must remain in their lanes for the first 100 m of the race. This rule was started in order to minimize the extent of physical jostling among runners in the early stages of the race. Physiologically these middle distance events demand that athletes have good anaerobic and aerobic energy producing system, and also that they have strong speed endurance.
The 1500 m and a mile run event have historically have been some of the most prestigious track and field events.
Beyond the short distances of sprinting events, factors such as an athlete's reactions and top speed becomes less important, while qualities such as pace, race tactics and endurance become more important.
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