(δρόμος, τρόχος). Foot-racing. In historic times, at the national festivals of Greece, several species of it had come into vogue. We may distinguish four sorts: (a) the στάδιον (or simply δρόμος); (b) the δίαυλος; (c) the ἐφίππιος or ἵππιος δρόμος; (d) the δολιχὸς δρόμος (or δόλιχος, proparox). A strange feature in these races was that they were not run on hard and firm ground (Lucian, Anachars. 27), but over a deeply sanded surface.
(a) The στάδιον was a race in which the runners (σταδιοδρόμοι) traversed the arena in a direct line (whence it was called εὐθύς, ἄκαμπτος) from one extremity to the other. This distance, as measured by the Olympic stadium, which became the general standard, was about 600 feet. The στάδιον corresponds to our sprint, in which the runner does the whole run at his highest speed.
(b) The δίαυλος, or double course (properly= double pipe), required that the runners (διαυλοδρόμοι) should, after traversing the arena as in the στάδιον, turn round a post (καμπτήρ) and run back to their starting-point. Hence it was called δρόμος κάμπειος (from καμπή=flexus).
(c) The ἐφίππιος or ἵππιος did not, as might seem from its name, signify a horse-race, but a race of sufficient length to try the power of a horse. (See Hermann-Blmner, Privatalt. p. 346.) It was a test therefore of endurance as well as speed, being four stadia in length; that is, twice the δίαυλος.
(d) The true test of staying power, however, was the δόλιχος or long race, added to the Olympic Games (according to Philostratus, Gymn. 12) in Olymp.15.The length of this race has been variously described as seven, twelve, twenty, or twentyfour stadia. We may suppose that it differed on different occasions.
Competition in foot-racing was open to runners of all ages, whether boys (παῖδες), striplings (ἀγένειοι), or grown men (ἄνδρες). Only those who belonged to the same class, as regards age (ἡλικιῶται), were permitted to compete with one another; seniors, of course, not being allowed to enter against their juniors. In Sparta even girls ran.
The competitors, being too numerous to contend all together, were entered in successive groups (τάξεις); those who should form each group, as [p. 447]
well as the order in which the groups should run, being determined by lot (συνταχθῆναι ὑπὸ τοῦ κλήρου). When all the τάξεις in turn had run, the victors in each were formed into one group, which ran a final heat for the prize.
It is doubtless owing to their want of instruments for accurately measuring small portions of time that the Greeks have left us scarcely any means of computing the speed which foot-racers attained in the various kinds of running.
For some special forms of the foot-race, see Lampadedromia and Staphylodromia.
We have very meagre information regarding foot-racing as practised by the Romans. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus (vii. 71, 73), it formed part of the Ludi Magni from the time of their institution. He, too, tells us that the runners wore the subligaculum round their loins. In the Capitoline Games (Dio Cass. lxvii. 8) young women, after the Spartan fashion, took part in the competition. Beyond these scanty notices and vague references to running for healthful exercise in the Campus Martius, very little has been handed down to us. This running in the Campus was not always competitive. That it was sometimes so, however, is plain from Martial, iv. 19. For chariotracing, see Circus and Hippodromus.