A Starter is only required for track events like the Straight Track (50m, 70m, 100m), Hurdles Track (60mH, 80mH, 90mH, 100mH) and Circular Track (200m, 300m, 400m, 800m 1500m, 200mH, 300mH, Walks).

Being a Starter is not a huge commitment of time and really benefits the efficiency and enjoyment of the event for the athlete. Typically Starters will do the events on only one of the designated Tracks at Ginninderra each morning. The role of Starter can be easily shared amongst a few people every weekend.


The flags (White and Red) are used to signal between the Timekeeper and the Starter to ensure the Timekeepers are ready for the start.


  • The Starter has control of the competitors on their marks and is the sole judge of any fact connected with the start. All races should be started by the actual report of a gun, but not before all competitors are quite still on their marks.
  • In races up to and including 400 metres the words of the Starter will be “On your marks”, “Set”, and when all the competitors are ‘motionless’ the gun will be fired.
  • In all races over 400 metres the words of the Starter shall be “On your marks”, and when all the competitors are motionless the gun will be fired.
  • If for any reason the Starter has to speak to any competitor after the competitors are on their marks, he/she shall order all competitors to “Stand up please” and step back one pace from the start line.
  • A competitor shall not touch either the start line or the ground in front of it with their hands, knees or feet when on his/her mark.
  • A competitor may use a standing start, crouch start or blocks (if allowed by the Rules of Competition) for laned events and standing start only for non laned events. A three point start (flying start) is not permitted
  • Any competitor making a false start must be warned verbally and by being shown a yellow flag/card. Any athlete responsible for two false starts, or three in a multi event, in the race will be disqualified after being shown a red flag/card.
  • If the Starter is of the opinion that the start was not a fair one he/she can recall the competitors by the firing of a second starting gun.
  • If the unfair start is not due to the action of any of the competitors, no warning is given.


  • The Starter should nearly always be in a position on the inside of the track and easily visible to the Timekeepers.
  • The starting position for the starter to stand at for a 400 metre staggered lane start is usually on the outside of the track and behind the competitors such that it is possible for him/her to see all competitors.
  • It is important that the Starter can see all the runners – especially on staggered starts.
  • The Starter can be on a raised platform.

Starting Procedure

The starting procedure should be as follows:

  • (1) take up position;
  • (2) receive all clear from Chief Timekeeper (blow whistle and wave white flag if all clear is given) (otherwise wave red flag if a problem exists at the start, or use the two-way radio);
  • (3) ensure all competitors are ready and standing about one pace back from the start line;
  • (4) give the order “On your marks”, competitors will move to their starting position;
  • (5) allow time for the competitors to settle;
  • (6) when all movement has ceased, raise gun and give the order “Set”; and
  • (7) when all competitors are steady and perfectly still, and after a pause to allow full concentration, fire the gun.

The pause between the command “Set” and the firing of the gun is necessary to allow the Starter time in which to be sure that all movement has ceased and allows each competitor to reach full concentration. If the competitors are not motionless after a reasonable pause has elapsed then they should be stood up again.

The Starter is the only person who can disqualify a competitor after a second false start within the same track event.


For the safety of the Starter, they should wear ear muffs and glasses to avoid possible injury. Starting Caps are not to be kept loose in pockets or in hands. Sheets of caps have been known to explode/ignite due to heat.

A regular Starter does require a WWVP Card.

See similar roles including Place Judge and Time Keeper.