Athletics scoring, rules and officials

Scoring

Success in athletics is not judged on points or goals, but rather on times and distance.

Track events – these races are started with an electronic pistol which is only sounded again on a false start. In races that are very close, officials use a digital line-scan camera across the finish line to give them a photo finish picture. The clock stops when an athlete has passed through the finish line.

Jumping events – these events are measured from the front edge of the take-off board to the first mark made in the sand by the athlete. The distance is always measured to the nearest centimetre and athletes will always be given a minimum of three jumps.

Throwing events – these events are measured from the front edge of the throwing line to the first mark made in the ground by the implement. The distance is always measured to the nearest centimetre and athletes will always be given a minimum of three attempts.

Rules

Athletics has a set of rules for competition and a series of official notification periods for proposed changes to them.

UK Athletics (UKA) is the governing body for the sport of athletics in the United Kingdom. Its responsibilities include overseeing the governance of athletics events in the UK as well as athletes, their development, and athletics officials. UK Athletics governs the rules for competition for the following disciplines:

  • track and field competition
  • road running competition
  • cross country running
  • fell and hill running
  • race walking
  • trail running

The UK Athletics Rules for Competition are published every two years.

Officials

An athletics competition requires a large number of volunteers each day. These include:

  • starter – this person starts all track events
  • starter's marshals – these people line up competitors in correct order ready for starting
  • timekeepers – these volunteers provide official times for all track competitors
  • place judges – these helpers ensure the correct order of positions are given
  • field event judges – these judges measure, record and let athletes know when it is safe to compete
  • relay judges – these make sure runners at change-overs are in the correct lane and within the change-over box