How to Run Anchor on Track Teams


A relay running race consists of four runners, each normally running one-quarter of the race distance. Typically the second-fastest runner starts the race while the slowest runner runs in the third position and the second-slowest in second. The last runner in a relay is known as the anchor and is generally the fastest runner on the team. The relay anchor is a very important part of the team because he is responsible for holding the lead or making up ground lost by other members of the team.

Things You'll Need

  • Running shoes
  • Four runners
  • Baton
  • Warm up your muscles before the race to ensure that you are ready to run at top speed. Warm-ups can include light running, stretching, jumping or other light exercises to get your muscles prepared for the race.

  • Continue to stretch and keep your muscles warm until it is time for your leg of the relay race.

  • Monitor the split times of all legs of the relay race as well as the track position of your team. This will help you develop an appropriate strategy for your leg of the race.

  • Wait in the baton exchange zone for the third runner to arrive. Depending upon the distance of the race you are running, you will perform either a blind exchange with your arm stretched behind you (you will not see the baton during the exchange), or an open exchange in which you turn around to accept the baton from the previous runner.

  • Run steady and strong for the first half of the race if you are running a distance event (800 meters or more). If you are in the lead during a distance relay, you will need to closely monitor the next closest runner to ensure that you maintain your lead. If you are trailing the lead runner, keep in close proximity to the pack but don't over-run the race so that you lose steam at the end. Increase your pace in the second half of the distance race so that you are able to lengthen your lead or begin to pass the runners ahead of you.

  • Run at full speed if your relay is a sprinting event, (4x400 meters or less), maintaining a steady strong pace for the entire race. If you are in the lead, work to maintain your position. If you are trailing, continue at top speed and try to pass as much of the competition as you are able.

  • Continue to run strong all the way through the finish line, making sure that you do not slow up until you are well past the finish line.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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