Athletics Track Quiz

How well do you know your way around an athletics track? Take our quiz!

#1. What is the width of a lane on a standard athletics track?

1.22m, or originally, 4 feet, is the width of a lane.

#2. If you run fast enough, can you break the 200m world record running from Lane 10 at the Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre?

The answer is ‘Yes’. World Athletics Rules specify that a world record in a circular event needs to be run on a track with a radius of less than 50m. QSAC has a radius of 36.5m in lane 1, and 47.48m in lane 10, so is acceptable for world record purposes.

#3. What are the lengths of the bends and straights on tracks that host Olympic Games and World Championships?

#4. Which was the first cinders surface athletics track in Australia?

The Poplar Road Track was predominantly used for women’s athletics from 1932, in an era where there were separate male and female athletics associations in each state and nationally.

ES Marks was surfaced with cinders in 1949, while Olympic Park had a cinders track installed in 1951. The MCG had a cinders track for the 1956 Olympic Games. The SCG has always been a grass surface, including when it hosted the 1938 British Empire Games (the forerunner to the Commonwealth Games).

#5. What colour was the first modern synthetic track (tartan) in Australia?

Hensley Athletics Field in Sydney was the first modern synthetic track in Australia. It opened in October 1973 to host the 1974 Commonwealth Games Trials.

The track was a green tartan surface laid by the 3M company.

#6. Where is the distance around the curve on an athletics track measured?

#7. How wide are lines on an athletics track?

#8. True or false: The run up to a high jump mat must be slightly uphill?

False. Visibly, the run up is essentially flat, but can have a downward gradient of up to 1 in 167 (0.6%) according to World Athletics Rules. This assists with drainage, and is much greater than the tolerance for the main part of the track surface (e.g. down the home straight can have a maximum tolerance of 1 in 1000 (0.1%) downhill in the direction of running).

#9. The dimensions of a hammer throw circle are the same as:

A discus circle has a 2.50m diameter, while shot and hammer circles both have a 2.135m diameter.

#10. What are the maximum length of spikes allowed on synthetic tracks in competitions under World Athletics Rules?

You might have thought the correct answer is 7mm for track events and 9mm for field events. That is the case for most tracks, as these are manufacturer guidelines. However, in the absence of a manufacturer’s guideline or any other specific local rules, the World Athletics Rules allow 9mm spikes in track events and 12mm spikes in field events.

#11. What is the most common colour for a synthetic track in Australia?

#12. In what year was the last remaining Australian record set on a cinders tracks broken?

Lee Troop broke the Australian 5000m record in Melbourne in 1999 with a run of 13:14.82. The previous record of 13:16.6 had been set by Ron Clarke on a cinder track in Stockholm, in 1966.

#13. Which venue has held the most editions of the Australian Athletics Championships?

The Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre has hosted the Australian Championships on 11 occasions.

#14. What is the maximum number of steps an athlete can take on the line while running around a bend, without being disqualified?

This rule has only just changed. Previously, a single step on the line would lead to disqualification. Now, so long as the athlete doesn’t gain material advantage or obstruct another athlete, they aren’t disqualified for stepping on the line (once during the duration of an event, including heats and finals).



We’ll done! It’s a tough quiz and you have scored better than the average of 5 out of 14.


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