Each competitor in sprint and middle-distance events is assigned a lane at the start of each race. In races up to and induding the 400m, competitors are given their own lane for the whole race. In 800m events, runners run in lanes until after the first bend, when they can cut to the inside lane. Races over 800m are not run in lanes. Each lane should measure between 4ft and 4.1ft wide. Each lane is "staggered" in relation to the next, so that athletes do not stand alongside each other at the start. This ensures the overall distance run by each competitor is the same.

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