It is only natural that track fans should focus their attention on the athletes, anxious to see how fast they run, how far they throw how high they jump. But when Photographer Michael Hirst found himself shooting the sport recently, it was the vast number of accessories—hurdles, spikes, batons, measuring devices—that caught his eye and, consequently the lens of his camera. Few if any sports have as much paraphernalia, a great deal of it modernized and streamlined in recent years to help the athlete archieve faster times, greater heights and longer distances than ever before.

It takes many stopwatches to clock a race, three for every runner at the national and international levels. Flags, used in field events, are white for a fair try, red for foul. Chalk makes a vaulter's grip more secure, foam-rubber pits make his landings softer. Hammer and discus throwers, as well as shotputters, work out of a circle from which these muscular competitors may not step. All throwing implements must be weighed; the hammer, for instance, must be no lighter than 16 pounds.

Tools of the track trade: a hammer thrower's supportive belt (personally engraved), a starter's pistol, a thicket of javelins and a pole-vault standard.