In athletics, the two standard relays are the 4x100 metre relay and the 4x400 metre relay. Traditionally, the 4x400 metre relay finals are the last event of a track meet, and is often met with a very enthusiastic crowd, especially if the last leg is a close race. It is hard to measure exact splits in a 4x400 (or a 4x100) relay. For example, if a team ran a 3:00 4x400, it does not mean every runner on the team has to run a 45 second open 400, because a person starts accelerating before he/she has the baton, therefore allowing for slightly slower overall open 400 times. A 4x400 relay generally starts in lanes for the first leg, including the handoff. The second leg then proceeds to run in lanes for the first 100 metres, after which point the runners are allowed to break into the first lane on the backstretch, as long as they do not interfere with other runners. A race organizer then puts the third leg runners into a line depending on the order in which they are running (with the first place closest to the inside). The faster teams pass first, while the slower teams have to slide in to the inside lanes as they come available.
4x200, 4x800, and 4x1600 relays exist as well, but they are rarer, especially at the high school level, where schools generally have only one or two competitive strong runners in such events.
Source: Relay Race from Wikipedia
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