Road Racing Terms Defined

runners in race

With road racing comes a lot of jargon that may not be understood by some runners, especially if you're new to the sport. Here are the definitions of some common racing terms, such as masters division, Clydesdale, Athena, and corrals.

What Is the Masters Runners Division in Road Racing?

In road racing, the Masters Division is for runners who are over a certain age. Usually, the age is 40, but it can vary from place to place.

The Masters Track and Field Committee of USA Track and Field (USTAF) requires that masters athletes be "at least 40 years old on the first day of the meet." Many road races offer special awards for masters runners. In addition to recognizing the top three male and female overall finishers, many races give awards to the top three male and female masters finishers.

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What's the Clydesdale Division?

In road racing, the Clydesdale division is a division for heavyweight male runners. The weight minimum for Clydesdales is 200 pounds, although it can vary from race to race. The idea behind this grouping, like the Athena Divison (see below), is to divide race participants into categories so they're competing against other athletes with similar physical qualities to them (similar to the age/gender groups that most races use).

 

Not all races have Clydesdale divisions but, if they do, they'll usually mention it on the race application. Some races may have given awards for the top three finishers in the Clydesdale division.

What's the Athena Division?

Similar to the Clydesdale Division, the Athena division is for heavyweight female runners.

The weight minimum for Clydesdales is usually 150 pounds, although it can vary from race to race. Not all races have Athena divisions but, if they do, they'll usually mention it on the race application. Some races may have given awards for the top three finishers in the Athena division.

What's a Corral?

A corral is a sectioned area at a race's starting line, where race participants are grouped according to their expected finishing time. The fastest runners are usually in the first corrals and the slowest runners are in the corrals at the back. The runners' race bibs usually indicate which corral they're assigned to. There are usually race officials checking race participants as they enter the corrals to make sure they're going to the correct corral.

Races that have corrals will also give runners timing devices, usually on their race bib or to attach to their shoe, so the time that it takes for them to cross the starting line is not included in their final race time.

In some big races, such as marathons, runners need to be in their corrals very early and end up waiting a long time for the race to start.

 In that case, there will sometimes be porta-potties within the corral. If it's cold and they're going to be waiting a long time, runners will wear "throwaway clothes" to stay warm as they're waiting.

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