Each runner must hand off the baton to the next runner within a certain zone, usually marked by triangles on the track. In sprint relays, runners typically use a "blind handoff", where the second runner stands on a spot predetermined in practice and starts running when the first runner hits a visual mark on the track (usually a smaller triangle). The second runner opens their hand behind them after a few strides, by which time the first runner should be caught up and able to hand off the baton. Usually a runner will give an auditory signal, such as "Stick!" repeated several times, for the recipient of the baton to put out his hand. In middle-distance relays or longer, runners begin by jogging while looking back at the incoming runner and holding out a hand for the baton. Two runners prepare to pass the baton. A team may be disqualified from a relay for: Losing the baton (dropping the baton) Making an improper baton pass False starting (usually once but sometimes twice) Improperly overtaking another competitor Preventing another competitor from passing Wilfully impeding, improperly crossing the course, or in any other way interfering with another competitor Based on the speed of the runners, the generally accepted strategy used in setting up a 4 person relay team is: second fastest, third fastest, slowest, then fastest (anchor). Although some teams (usually middle school or young high school) use second fastest, slowest, third fastest, then the fastest (anchor). Each segment of the relay (the distance run by one person) is referred to as a leg.
During a relay race, members of a team take turns running, orienteering, swimming, cross-country skiing, biathlon, or ice skating (usually with a baton in the fist) parts of a circuit or performing a certain action. Relay races take the form of professional races and amateur games. In the Olympic games, there are several types of relay races that are part of track and field.