Little Known and Useful(?) Facts about the Manley Fieldhouse Track
- Layout: There are 6 lanes each 36 inches wide. The track is
formed by 2 semicircles each 85 meters in length joined by 15 meter
straightaways. The radius of curvature of the circular portions is 89
feet. The sprint lanes are 42 inches wide. The measured line in lane
1 is 30 cm (11.81) inches from the inside edge of the track. In all
other lanes it is 20 cm from the outer edge of the lane line to the
- Distances: 8 Laps in Lane 1 is 1600 meters, not 1 mile. It is
.9941939076 mile, or 9.344 meters short of a mile. Other lane-lap combinations which
give approximately even mile distances:
7 laps in lane 6 is .9948693772 miles. 37 laps in lane 4 is
4.994415896 miles. 86 laps in lane 2 is 10.99460379 miles. (All of
these are closer to an even number of miles than is 8 laps
in lane 1. ) Here are some analogous facts for the standard 400 meter
outdoor track ( 42 inch lanes ): 26 laps in lane 6 is 7.003709132
miles, 49 laps in lane 5 is 12.99521346 miles. 23 laps in lane 4 is
6.003999297 miles, and 91 laps in lane 2 is 22.99692551 miles.
( The accuracy indicated here is absurd, of course. The milage figures
quoted assume that the track has been measured exactly, and uses the
exact conversion from metric to English.)
- Staggers: There are two stagger lines marked in each lane (except
the first ), offset from the starting line and also from the 1500 meter
starting line. The first stagger line is marked in green and is called the one-turn stagger.
It is used when runners may break for the inside lane immediately after
rounding the first curve. The second line is the two-turn stagger and is
used when runners may break immediately after rounding the second curve.
For example, the 400m dash is normally run indoors off a 2-turn stagger.
Runners start from the second stagger line and must stay in their lanes
until they have crossed a line called the break line. It is marked in
yellow on the Manley track at a point 15 meters behind the starting line.
Thus runners stay in lanes for almost 1 entire lap. (Update: the two turn
stagger line is actually a double line. There is a white line and a blue line
slightly displaced from it in the direction away from the starting line. The
gap between the two lines gets larger as one moves towards the outer lanes. The
white line is only used for the 200m dash run in lanes. The blue line is used
for the 400m run in lanes for the first lap, and for relays run in lanes for
the first lap. The gap between the two lines makes up for the diagonal runners
must follow when they move to the pole after crossing the break line.)
- Starting line: The starting line is a curve, often termed
the "waterfall" (for reasons which are a mystery to me.) This
is a rather interesting curve from a mathematical point of
view. It is one of a family of curves known as involutes .
There are 4 other involutes in Manley besides the main starting
line: they are the one and two turn break lines, the 1500m starting
line, and the 1 mile starting line (marked in orange.) There are also
two curves which appear to be involutes: they are rather faint curves
approximately 10 feet behind each of the starting lines. These are used
to line up runners before they are called up to the starting lines.
Since the starting line is approximately 2 inches thick, it is worth
pointing out that the theoretical starting line is the edge of the
physical line nearest the runners. (Thus, runners must keep their toes
behind the line before the start.)
There is much more that can be said about the geometry of the waterfall start.
- Finish line: The finish line is a straight line across the
track which meets the starting line at the inside edge of the track.
It is 2 inches wide and marked in white. The theoretical finish line
is the far edge of the physical line as seen by the finishing runners.
- Hurdle markings: The sets of small green diamonds along the
sprint lanes mark the location of the men's 55m hurdles and the
yellow diamonds mark the location of the women's 55m hurdles. The
little black marks show the location of Ed Lukens' hurdles. (dated remark - p
robably no longer true.)
- The 50 and 150 meter points are marked. Look for the small
markings about 2/3 of the way through the first and second curves. We
once figured out the exact point you have to run to past 16 laps in
order to run 2 miles. It is where the 55 meter finish line
intersects the inside edge of the track.
- There are several broken white lines marked across the track. For
example, one such line runs along the east-west axis of the building
(in line with mid-court on the basketball court.) These lines have
no significance for track and field; they are used for alignment when
the bleachers are being deployed.
- What to do when the bleachers are out: If you go all the way
around behind both sets of bleachers it is about 250 meters. (To run
the "official" route, don't go inside of lane 3.) Thus, 32 of these
big laps will give you a five miler. If you go behind only one set of
bleachers you need to run 36. (Someday I'm going to get in there with my Jones
counter and figure this out exactly.)