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Race between teams in which each team member successively covers a specified portion of the course. In track events, such as the 4 100-m and 4 400-m relays, the runner finishing one leg passes a baton to the next runner while both are running within a marked exchange zone. In swimming competitions, such as the 4 100-m and 4 200-m freestyle races and the 4 100-m medley, the swimmer completing one leg touches the edge of the pool to signal the start of the next teammate's leg.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on relay race, visit Britannica.com.