How to Measure the Distance of a Running Track

How to Measure the Distance of a Running Track
If you've got athletes training to run a race of a certain distance, you need to know exactly how far it is around the running track they use for training. The distance around each lane of a track varies--thus the staggered start for any race that includes at least one curve of the track--but you need to measure the track only once. If you know how long it is around the inside lane, you can use a calculator (see Resources) to figure out how to offset starting points in the other lanes so that all runners complete the same distance.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring wheel or other measuring device
Step 1
Position yourself 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) from edge of the inside painted line for your lane. Either start at a line already given on the track or mark your starting position with a piece of tape or chalk across the lane.
Step 2
Reset your measuring wheel, pedometer or whatever measuring device you're using.
Step 3
Walk or run around the track, keeping a constant 20-centimeter distance from the edge of the inside line. If you have trouble keeping a constant distance from the line, attach a lightweight 20-centimeter dowel to your measuring device and keep the opposite end of the dowel over the inside line as you walk.
Step 4
Continue until you reach your starting place. The resulting measurement is the distance all the way around the track for the lane you measured. Note that the distance varies from lane to lane. See Resources for a calculator to help determine the difference in distances, or offset, between lanes.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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