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"The Rabbit" | Track and Field
The rabbit is sometimes used in track & field. The term the rabbit is derived from a fictional rabbit in a fairy tale who starts off a race like lightning but burns out from the fast start and cannot finish the race. Sometimes, a runner who makes a fast start but is unable to keep a steady pace and peters out before the end of the race is referred to a the rabbit. The rabbit also refers to a runner who runs way out in front of the pack to encourage other runners to catch up and run a faster race. The rabbit running way out in front knows that he cannot maintain such a rate of speed, but sacrifices himself to make the rest of the group pick up the pace. The rabbit is often employed in long distance races such as the 1500 meter, the 800 meter, and the 5,000 meter.
1,500 meter. The 1,500 meter race is the first race where track and field runners, as well as the rabbit, must make several revolutions around the 400 meter track. The 1,500 meter, along with the 800 meters, are the first races where the runners all compete fro the same inside lane of a 400 meter track. The 1,500 meter race begins with up to 12 racers spread out staggered over 8 lanes of track, but then break towards the inside lane after the first curve.
1,500 meter runners are fairly moderately sized, usually around 150 pounds, and about 5' 10". Comparatively, throwing athlete, such as the hammer throw player, are closer to 6' 1" and usually weigh in excess of 290 pounds. Some accomplished athletes in the 1,500 meters include the world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco, Bernard Lagat from Kenya, and Fermin Cacho from Spain. The 1,500 meter event is one of the first races where the athletes use running shoes with heels, beginning with the 100 meter. Speed runners stay on their toes for almost the entire race, while long distance runners use their heels while moving.
While the 1,500 meter race is very long, the finale of the race is often close, with the race being won in the final few seconds. This is a race of moderate speed, but with runners still covering a lot of ground quickly. In long distance races like the 1,500 meters and the 5,000 meters, athletes try to spend as much of the race as they can on the inside lane. Over a 5,000 meter race, running just 0.5m farther outside than necessary on the curves can add up to 50 extra meters to run. Unlike the rabbit, successful 1,500 meter runners must maintain a steady pace, and have the extra energy needed later on to pass runners or make a final push towards the finish line.
The 10,000 meter. The 10,000 meter race is the longest run on the 400 meter track and field track. A successful 10,000 meter runner is able to maintain a steady focus throughout the race, and does not tire himself out early, like the rabbit. Some notable athletes in the 10,000 meter include Emil Zatopek from CZE, Wang Junxia from China in the women's 10,000 meter.
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