A relay race is made up of teams of four runners. Each runner runs a set distance before passing a baton to a teammate. A baton is a hollow tube. Usually made of metal, not longer than 30 centimeters and weighing no less than 50 grams.
The baton handoff must take place in a 20-meter take-over zone, with the starting line in the middle zone. If the handoff occurs outside of this zone, the team is disqualified. It is the baton''s position, and not that of the runners, that determines whether the handoff was legal or not.
For races where lanes cease to be used, waiting runners move to an inside position to receive the handoff as their incoming teammates arrive. After handing off, runners who have finished their leg must remain in their lane to avoid interfering with other runners.
In outdoor relays up to and including the 4X200 meters and the 800-meter medley, runners about to receive handoffs may begin running not more than 10 meters outside the take-over zone. In indoor relays, such a "fly zone" is not used.
In the 4X200 meters relay, the first and second legs and part of the third are run in lanes. In the 4X400 meters relay, the first leg and part of the second are run in lanes.