The 4x1600m needs to stop.

Supertramp

Active member
I do not understand the appeal of this event, but I keep seeing it more and more at meets.

Not only does it take considerable time (25-30 minutes for some of the slowest teams) but aside from the leadoff leg, the majority of the athletes are running entirely alone out on the track.

Why not just run multiple heats of the 1600m and add up the times? I know some meets in the past have done this, but I'm not seeing it much anymore.

If you have 12 teams of 4x1600m for Boys and Girls, that is 96 athletes. You could run that in 4-5 heats, and the athletes would actually have people to race against. But running the same athletes in two 4x1600m essentially is like running 8 heats of the mile, and 6/8 of the heats are essentially solo time trials.

This is different than the other relays (4x800m and shorter) as they are actual OHSAA events and far more entertaining, as well as less time-consuming. Even the DMR, while not an OHSAA event, is typically far more competitive and entertaining with how the order is structured.

And even the most elite teams trying to run the 4xMile at NBN are wasting their time since NBN will take your team's 4 best open 1600m/Mile times.

Stop running the 4x1600m as a relay. Just run heats of the mile and add up the times.

-It will save time during the meet
-Athletes will run faster with people to race against
-It will be far more entertaining to watch as a spectator
 

Newton's Third

Active member
I haven't coached in several years but I have attended meets. If placed in the right position in the schedule there is nothing wrong with a 4x1600. I usually saw it to put something on the track during field events rather than an empty track. I have also seen it in a position to provide rest between events for sprinters and hurdlers. As far as 25 minutes, how long does it take to acommodate 96 400 or 300h athletes? That would be 8 heats. I have seen 8 200 heats last well over 30 minutes because of setting blocks and run outs. The event also allows for marginal developing athletes to race without being in the spotlight fearing looking terrible until they are ready for it. I understand everything you said and agree with a lot but if put in the right place in the schedule it will not cost time or be less entertaining than an empty track.
 

tmk

Member
The high school I graduated from had a 4x2 mile in addition to a 4xmile. They ran the 4x3200 as 2 heats, and added up the times.

Pole vault relays take far, far longer than 4x1600's. We had to go with a 2 person PV relay vs. 3 person (25+ team invite) because of how long it takes.

Other than the historical connections with the 4x200 (the state sprint relay in the pre-1980's era), I'd be fine with it disappearing as well.
 
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Rohbino

Well-known member
The organizers of a major event, this weekend's Drake Relays in Des Moines, believe that the 4x1600 should continue as an event and there are full fields of teams that must agree. If there are enough teams that have the depth to run a 4x1600, why not?

I'm all for events that are not normally contested in most meets and, in particular, meets such as NCAA regional or national, and the high school meets such as district, regional, and state. In high school meets I like seeing events contested such as the steeplechase, SMR, DMR, triple jump, hammer throw, shuttle hurdles, javelin throw, 5000, or any other event that is not a "normal" event. It adds interest and anything that adds interest in the sport is good for the sport. Additionally, having a lot of varied events might give more athletes a chance to compete.

At last weekend's Centerville Relays there were all sorts of different events - 4x1600, 1200 shuttle hurdle relay, DMR, SMR, 400 shuttle hurdles, a 4x400 steeplechase relay, 2000 m steeplechase, hammer throw, and triple jump. This is all good stuff, imho.
 
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JAVMAN83

Well-known member
As an older field event guy, I do remember competing in the old Knights of Columbus Relays, which had a long run in the Cincinnati area for many years. They had a 4xMile, and I don't remember having any other feeling other than it was another opportunity for my fellow competitors to compete. It was early season, and that is where & when the big relay carnivals belong. It is meant as a competition OPPORTUNITY, not as a precursor to the championship state tournament. Let the distance kids enjoy it if you've got the numbers.

My 2 cents.
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
Whoever said to themselves "hey! 4x1600, that would be awesome!" needs to be punched square in the mouth.
Every now and then I like it when folks like you try to punch me in the mouth. Sometimes it feels good to open a can of whip a s s on someone.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
Don’t want the distance runners to have more than two events, huh?

How about we delete the 4x200? I never did like that one.
Agreed. The 4x200 is trash. It takes forever to set up. The open 200 is also trash. It takes way too long to set up for as short of a race as it is.
 
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Way back in the early seventies, two coaches of AAA powers thought the 4 x mile relay was so important they
ran a state champion vs. a state runner up in the anchor leg the Wednesday evening before the Ohio State Track Championship.
I think both teams broke 18 about a second apart, then two days later they headed to Columbus
 

CedarBuck92

Active member
How about a 4x20km Race walk relay?

In all seriousness a fun event may be to take some of these "odd" relays and make them mixed. Or maybe a mixed DMR.
 

Jaws31

Well-known member
Every now and then I like it when folks like you try to punch me in the mouth. Sometimes it feels good to open a can of whip a s s on someone.
Lighten up Francis. I'm sure you are super scary and all, but it was a joke. And if you did actually invent the 4x1600 then why??????? Who hurt you?
 
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Jaws31

Well-known member
Two words for everyone... CROSS COUNTRY!

Seriously though if event promoters want put a 4x1600 into a meet then at least do it at the very end, after the 4x400, so everyone doesn't have to sit through 20 minutes of it.
 
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Jaws31

Well-known member
Agreed. The 4x200 is trash. It takes forever to set up. The open 200 is also trash. It takes way too long to set up for as short of a race as it is.
I know right? Takes forever to take the blocks alllllllll the way across the field and getting 2 whole people in exchange zones is the worst.
 

Newton's Third

Active member
The high school I graduated from had a 4x2 mile

I had a team in a 4 X 3200 way back when and remember scolding my anchor. The first leg was at about 800 meters into his leg when I told the anchor, "C'mon, get warmed up and get your strides in. You only have half an hour or less."
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
Lighten up Francis. I'm sure you are super scary and all, but it was a joke. And if you did actually invent the 4x1600 then why??????? Who hurt you?
No, not "super scary and all," but I can hold my own. I'm just a fan of the sport, is all.

Perhaps you should lighten up, Francis.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
Don’t want the distance runners to have more than two events, huh?

How about we delete the 4x200? I never did like that one.
Worst event ever. I can't stand the 4x200 and I have to see it at every meet!!! Make it two turn stagger and then have it be a free for all after that 2nd exchange. Works for College indoor and would give officials something fun to officiate.

Relay meets where they have the SMR, DMR, 4x1600 etc. are just different and fun. The SMR is basically the 400m dash. I've won two of them this year with less than stellar sprinters. In college the DMR used to be 3 of us busting our butts only to had it off to the 1600m guy who would run tactically and make it a 200m sprint. We just gave you an 8 second lead and you let them catch you and tuck in? Nice.

At least you have some clue as to what place you are in. The 4 x 200 is just a surprise. Look at that, we are third. Who would have guessed?
 

Supertramp

Active member
I love the DMR, SMR, etc. I think those are great and a lot of fun to do something a little different early in the season. I'd love to see them add a DMR to Indoor and/or Outdoor state, but doubt that will ever happen. I personally like the 4x200m as well.

But the difference between the DMR and the 4x1600m is how competitive they usually are. (Also, 2400m)

I'm not advising we remove the 4x1600m altogether (I guess "The 4x1600m needs to stop" was not a great title for this) but I think running it as heats of the 1600m and adding up the times would both save time, provide better racing experience for the athletes, and be more entertaining for the spectators.

This is not true of the DMR, 4x800m, or really any other relay. I find all other usual relays we see at relay meets entertaining and efficient for both time and racing purposes. But not the 4x1600m if it's a pure relay and not added times.
 

CoventryTrackXCguy

Well-known member
I think that in especially a pandemic year, after having MISSED a year, that giving athletes as many opportunities to compete in different events would be beneficial to many teams. A lot of teams, like my own, are finding themselves in a similar rough situation. Reduced numbers. Few leaders: the oldest were still undercalssmen the last time we had a season. Many new faces, and few returning starters. And just a lot of figuring things out. All these exotic events just gives us more opportunities to experiment with different lineups, especially with our underclassmen, as we have committed to a full rebuild at this stage of the season. And all of our lineups are aimed towards allowing our underclassmen to develope, so that we can become competitive again in a couple of seasons. And so, getting opportunities to compete in a wide variety of events helps us a lot in that regard.
 

ENA2

Member
After first thinking this post was just a joke, I think I see some good points. First, personally, the 4 x 200 relay is not my most favorite event. It is not really like the 4 x 100 for most high schoolers and not at all like the 4 x 400 although It may be a good transition for the 4 x 400 for some younger athletes and really is enjoyed by all the kids who every ran for me. Our 800 and 1600 kids love to do it at dual meets. If the bullpen/meet management do things right, it takes no longer to "set up" than the 4 x 100.

The 4 x 1600 is really a good opportunity for some more to get kids involved in the the "team" aspect of track and field and has some great coaching aspects.... as does every relay. Not boring to me, but most may say it is what is wrong with track & field... ie. meets last too long, spectators don't know what's going on, etc...it's not for the general spectator who does not understand.
But I think most the kids like it. I do like the 4 x 1600 as the first event as often the participants are not field event athletes so during the hour that it takes for the boys and girls 4 x1600 the meet can get field events done without kids checking out to do a running event.... the meet does not have to last any longer. Having 4 heats of the 1600 and adding the times up wuld be even harder to follow and more time consuming.

Being "not like" the other events is what I like about these events. In fact, that's one of the best things about the sport.... every type of athlete has different strengths and every event can demonstrate this. Yes, I like every event (some more than others)... give me the Steeplechase, Hammer, Triple Jump, DMR, shuttle hurdles, 5K and even the javelin..... and give me the kids who want to experience each.
 

Nosono

New member
A couple of points here from the previous comments:

1) I don't like the 4x1600m either. And I am a miler through and through. It takes too long and at most high school meets as it is not a particularly exciting nor spectator friendly race. At national level collegiate races(i.e. Penn Relays), I see the appeal, and have seen some very exciting finishes. But at most if not all HS relay meets it should probably not be run.

2) The 4x200. I don't get this race at all. It started out as a race to 'even out' number of events for boys and girls when girls didn't compete in the PV. When they added the PV, they made a mistake to keep the 4x2 and expand to both boys and girls. It is a perfect race for indoor, however.

3) You are all missing the worst relay "event" of all time. The shuttle hurdle relay. It is impossible to police starts with the naked eye, and when you do go back and use cameras, you get things like the following: https://sjtrackblog.com/2019/03/10/...hip-shuttle-hurdles-at-new-balance-nationals/

I'd love to see the TJ added. Would balance out # of track vs. # of field events a bit and only would cost a bit of paint.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
I know right? Takes forever to take the blocks alllllllll the way across the field and getting 2 whole people in exchange zones is the worst.
Spoken like someone whose team barely tries to compete in events that require anyone to run longer than 400m.
 

tmk

Member
3) You are all missing the worst relay "event" of all time. The shuttle hurdle relay. It is impossible to police starts with the naked eye, and when you do go back and use cameras, you get things like the following: https://sjtrackblog.com/2019/03/10/...hip-shuttle-hurdles-at-new-balance-nationals/

I'd love to see the TJ added. Would balance out # of track vs. # of field events a bit and only would cost a bit of paint.


Then you would LOVE West Virginia, where the shuttles are a standard event in dual meets (and an event in the regional and state championships).
 

JAVMAN83

Well-known member
Can we all just lighten up :) Life is too short, and this past year should be an example to us all of more important things in life than debating the efficacy of the 4x1600m or any other relay. I know most of us enjoy the banter, but let's just enjoy certain relays within certain meets & times of the year. They are just different opportunities for kids to express themselves athletically. Let it go at that.
 

Jaws31

Well-known member
Can we all just lighten up :) Life is too short, and this past year should be an example to us all of more important things in life than debating the efficacy of the 4x1600m or any other relay. I know most of us enjoy the banter, but let's just enjoy certain relays within certain meets & times of the year. They are just different opportunities for kids to express themselves athletically. Let it go at that.
I agree. I was just busting chops. Although I am not a huge fan of most of the distance stuff I respect the heck out of anyone that goes out there and does it. And I am a fan of competition.
 

mrroosevelt

Active member
Our school used to host a relay invitational and we included the 4x1600. We ran two heats of the event, girls and then boys. I did drag on. While up in the press box, I once said, "I think everyone in attendance would be just fine with it if we told all the schools to run this relay at practice the day before the relay invitational, email the results to us, and we would just take them at their word." Of course I was joking........I think.......maybe I was a little bit serious........OK, if someone else would have thought I was a good idea I certainly would have maybe backed the idea. ;) ;) ;)
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
The high school I graduated from had a 4x2 mile ....... They ran the 4x3200 as 2 heats, and added up the times.
Our school held a 4x2 relay in 1977, but only once. It was early in the morning during field events, and they allotted 90 minutes for it, just in case. I had volunteered to be a timer, and each of us only had to keep track of one team. Fortunately the school I was tracking finished first in 50 minutes. I could see why it wasn't something you'd want to do a lot.

Re the 4-mile relay (sorry, I'm old and use the old terms), I will always be thankful for that event. I wasn't a great runner in high school, and that event was the only time the coach would let me run at invitationals! ;)
 
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