A Distance Runner’s Take On Track

A hurdler training for the spring season

With the spring season starting up once again, track is (obviously) on everyone’s mind. Newcomers to the spring team might be unsure of the best events for them, and since I’ve been doing track since 2nd grade, I’ve got some opinions (though they might be a little biased). That said, let my ranking of each track event guide your decision-making when you join spring track.


100m: 2/10

The 100 is the event runners sign up for when they don’t know what else to do, especially when they treat track as a social club rather than a true sport. It is also too short to be exciting to watch, and this shortness puts pressure on the athletes. Even the smallest mistake – a slow start, a falter in their step, forgetting to lean at the finish – can cost them the entire race. But, it’s short enough for athletes to feel relatively fresh for other events soon after they finish.


200m: 10/10

This race is one of my personal favorites, perhaps because I’m used to distance events. It feels like the perfect distance for a sprinting event, allowing the athlete to speed up into a sprint the first 80 meters, then go all out the last 120m. It’s not long enough for the athlete to feel their legs go numb ¾’s in, but its not short enough for a mistake to cost the entire race (though it’s close).


300m: ??/10

This race doesn’t exist. It’s a figment of your imagination. No one knows what competitive times are. You swear you ran it one time at the Armory in winter track but maybe that was actually just a 600? 


400m: – 30/10

The most hated. Absolutely vile. You sprint an entire lap. Your legs fall off after 150 meters. Sprinting the last 100m is not possible. Your races after won’t go well because you’re still tired from this race.


600m/1000m: 5/10

You run these one time and immediately forget your time. Sprinter’s complain they’re too long for them to run. They are the epitome of indoor track because they’re just, weird events. How do you even pace?? I guess you just go based off of your 800 time (just run 200m less/more). Just as winter track is a weird in-between /prep season, these events are just weird distances that exist between the usual races.


800m: 9/10

My personal favorite race, but most people hate it. Short enough to have to sprint the whole thing but long enough where it’s just, painful. Pretty similar to the 400. It is the true mid-distance event (most also count 400 and 1600 as mid-distance). I like it because it’s short enough for me to go hard and fast the entire time, therefore feeling energetic and motivated throughout. And as a distance runner, it’s the shortest event I run at meets, and most people think the shorter the better (less running time = less pain = more happiness).


1600m: 7.5/10

I have an emotional attachment to this event because it’s mostly been my specialty. Some people think the mile is nice because you don’t have to sprint, just jog most of the time, and that’s maybe half true. People do the mile if they think they have endurance (“I’m slow but I can run 5 miles”), but to excel in the mile, you gotta go HARD the entire time. Sure, the first lap might be comfortable, especially with the adrenaline, but then you need to speed up the second lap just to get even splits. You’re basically focused on running faster than you think you should, the entire time. You force yourself to feel pain, then push harder to feel even more pain; it takes mental toughness. Imagine almost sprinting 3 laps, then sprinting an entire 400m. 


3200m: 3/10

If you like this, you’re insane. You have a motivation to run that I’ll never understand. It’s the track event for the cross country runners who want to run year round. Most kids use it as a cooldown during the league season, and everyone just jogs together. But there’s always some boy trying to break 11 minutes. 8 laps around the track? Absolutely not. 16 laps on an indoor track?? I lose count after 3.


High Hurdles (100 – 110m): -10/10

5 step? 3 step?? Please use English. But I’ve never jumped over a hurdle, so here’s Bryan Hwang’s opinion:
“You may think it’s just a normal 100 meter with 10 meters added, but as you approach the start you see 10 walls the height of yourself, and then you run against hurdlers double your height. Fun.”


Intermediate Hurdles (400m): – 30^2 / 10

Take a 400, add obstacles. 


4×400 Relay: 7/10

If people hate the 400, how do you think they feel about FOUR 400s? Athletes hide from their coaches to avoid being forced into this pain. Personally though, I love it (maybe because it’s only 1 lap and I’m used to 4). The crowd’s energy is amazing. People love to watch it – truly the fan-favorite. It’s short enough to hold people’s attention but long enough for you to actually see what is happening. The 4×4 is the only relay run at normal meets, so it’s the only one worth mentioning. It is also the last race run at meets (and the last of this article), so sometimes the winner of the meet comes down to the winner of this race.