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:
FOUR INDOOR TRACK MEETS
There are four indoor track meets 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. Tyke, PeeWee, and Bantam 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.
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 can come down to track level to take pictures/video).
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 PeeWee and Bantam 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.
Big 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.
All athletes need to check in with the call room prior to each event to confirm that they have arrived and will be competing. Your athlete will need to bring everything required to compete, including their singlet (provided at the first meet and kept for the season), spikes and a water-bottle. The check-in time for each event varies slightly but averages around 15 minutes before the scheduled event time. If your athlete checks in after the scheduled time, or doesn't check-in, they may not be allowed to compete.
The call room is an area that's been roped off with chairs, where volunteers shepherd the athletes into their proper heats in the correct order. The athletes will be taken to the start line and lined up by a volunteer or official. If your athlete is in a field event, they will check in at that event (e.g. long jump check-in is at the pit - there are two pits so you need to know which one your athlete is to go to, and that information will be on the heat sheets).
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 Tyke, PeeWee and Bantam 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. Tyke, PeeWee and Bantam athletes receive ribbons for Top 10 results in each event. Your athlete could be going home with a handful of ribbons, so get a cork board ready! The overall top three athletes (PeeWee girls/boys, Bantam girls/boys) will get medals. Midget athletes and above will be awarded medals for top three finishers only.
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.