WHAT HAPPENS AT A MEET?
Are you and your athlete new to Track & Field? This is the page for you.
An indoor track meet can be a little confusing for newcomers. Here is how it works:
INDOOR TRACK MEETS
The indoor track meets are held in Edmonton, all at the University Butterdome (officially called the Universiade Pavilion). The first one of the season is a one-day meet held in November, called the "Last Chance Meet." It will be a long day, so bring plenty of snacks and food. There are also lots of places to buy food on the day (The SUB building is a 2-minute walk).
THE SOCIAL SCENE AT MEETS
The track community is small, and friendships develop between athletes from different clubs. The athletes have a great time meeting up at different events, and these early friendships extend into later years, when athletes join forces on common teams to represent Edmonton and Alberta.
YOUR ATHLETE'S EVENTS
Coaches will pre-register athletes for their events. U-12 and U-14 schedules are set up as a "Multi-Events," meaning that they will be doing sprint and longer distance runs, jumping and throwing events. All the track meets for younger athletes support the "Long Term Athletic Development" (LTAD) model. This approach is meant to develop the whole body, and give exposure to several events. Your athlete may be fantastic at high jump or long jump, for example, but will never know unless they try!
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Please make sure your athlete arrives at least one hour prior to their first event. Each athlete is pre-assigned a number for that event to help identify them. Assist your athlete in getting this number from their coach, and ensure that the number is pinned on your child's t-shirt or singlet. Ask your coach whether the number will be pinned on the front or back, since it depends on the event. Please hold onto your bib number for the whole track meet, you will not get a new one on the second day of a two day meet.
Next, coaches will get their athletes warmed up and ready to compete. At this point, parents will be asked to go into the stands and watch from there. Parents are not allowed on the track level during indoor meets.
Each event has a heat sheet that lists all the events/times/heats for participating athletes. These will be posted on the far end of the Mezzanine level. The U-12 and U-14 groups are by far the largest groups participating!
The announcer will say the event and heat number, and there is also an electronic board with this information. The schedules are available online in advance through the Athletics Alberta and Ellis Track websites.
Thunder athletes are required to "marshal in" prior to each event. An hour prior to the event, athletes are required to bring their number and spikes (shoes) to the marshaling table. This confirms that you plan to compete and that your spikes are acceptable. Lane numbers are also assigned at this stage.
RUNNING IN AN EVENT
This is the exciting part! Athletes will be coordinated into races and heats by officials and volunteers at the start line. Once a race is ready to begin, the commands will be given. These are: "On your mark," followed by "Set," then the sound of the gun.
When athletes immediately hear a second gun go off, they need to stop running. This indicates a false start, where someone has "jumped the gun." All athletes then go back to the start line and hope they are not the one who jumped the gun, because it could mean disqualification (even the young athletes can be disqualified!).
TIMING THE EVENT
For the younger age categories, all running events are timed finals. This means that your athlete will only run once for that event, and will be given a final place based on their time. For older age groups, heats are conducted, and then depending on the number of runners, semi-finals and finals take place.
Results are posted up on the Mezzanine level shortly after the race.
VOLUNTEERING AT AN INDOOR TRACK MEET
At each meet, there will be a table where you can pick up your volunteer assignment (and T-shirt, if offered by the event). The table is on the Track level near the big staircase that goes to the track. All volunteer jobs at track meets are fun, and you will be given instructions by an official so you know what to do.
University of Alberta Butterdome
Paid parking is available at several lots around the area (minimal charge applies). The Education and Stadium Parking lots are the closest.