How Long is a Track Around a Football Field?

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A track around a football field is typically 1/4 of a mile (400m) at most universities, high schools, and grade schools. Thus, four trips around such a track – in lane one – would be one 1600m or one complete mile. (More on the math below.)

In fact, the IAAF Track and Field Facilities Manual offers this comment:

“It is normal for an athletics track to be used for other sports. Generally, this involves using the interior of the 400m tracks as a pitch for soccer, American football or rugby”

How is the 400m distributed?

Or, asked differently, how long are the straightaways, and how long are the curves? While I’m pretty good with math and geometry, there are already a few sites that explain this perfectly, so I’ll be referencing them to help supply the information here.

For the lengths, DataGenetics set things up for us:

“An official oval* running track has two straights of length 84.39m and two semi-circular ends with an inside radius of 36.50m (more of this later). An oval track is designed to be 400m around (using the inside lane).”

So, what do we do with that? What’s the equation? RunHive lays it out like this:

“Think back to your high school geometry days and you’ll recall that the circumference of a circle is equal to 2πr (that’s 2 times approximately 3.14 times the radius of the circle). A track is basically just a circle chopped in half with two straightaways connecting the halves, so to calculate the total distance, we use 2πr+2s with s being the straightaway length.

Those straightaways, according to IAAF specifications, are 84.39 meters long and the radius of the inside line of Lane 1 is 36.5 meters. Do the math and that gets you to… 398.12 meters.”

And if you’re looking at that and realizing 398.12m is less than 400m, you’d be correct. brings us home with this bit:

“The theoretical running path for this set of dimensions is 400 meters when measured 0.3 meter from the central vacant area, which is called the kerb.”

So, when you factor in the inside lane runner’s position, you arrive at 400m.

About Ryan from Sport Stuff Genius 58 Articles
A complete sports fanatic most of his life, Ryan has taken his interest and expert knowledge to Sport Stuff Genius—a blog dedicated to uncovering answers to different questions and bringing fun to all things ball.