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Last Updated: Friday February 16 2007 14:26 GMT

What is athletics?


Put simply, athletics is about running faster, jumping higher or for a longer distance, or throwing further than someone else.

It's perhaps the oldest sport of all, with running, jumping and throwing events taking place thousands and thousands of years ago.

It's one of the easiest sports to get into, because you need very little equipment to have a go. In most cases a pair of trainers and some sporty clothes are enough to get started.

The most exciting events are the sprints, where athletes blast down a track as fast as they can go. At the other end of the scale marathon runners keep running for two hours without stopping.

During the summer, competitions and events are held outdoors on 400m tracks. When it's colder in the winter the events take place indoors, and the track is 200m long.

Guide to Athletics