Standards for Lane Widths for Track Facilities

A new track is being planned in the City of Vancouver at a local high school – the first track built here for 30 years (lots of asphalt tracks from the 70’s). There is only enough room to build either a 6-lane track with 1.2m lane widths (standard) or an 8-lane track with 1.0 lane widths.

Some supposed track enthusiasts are pushing for the 6-lane setup in case someone breaks a record at local meet. Anyone who knows the state of track and field in this part of Canada knows that the 8-lane option would be best for holding efficient track meets for elementary and high school level athletes. This track was intended to be a community-based project to help track at the school/grass-roots level, but some individuals are pushing for the 6-lane option to hold world-class meets I assume (even though 6-lanes would not be considered “world-class”). I’d rather see an 8-lane track to hold school level meets with full 8 lane finals.

Does anyone have any information on tracks with substandard lane widths and how it impacts the recognition of records? I would think if people were getting picky with 20cm, then we’d have to have wind guages everywhere, checks for spike length, fully accredited officials at all events, no I-Pods and, of course, urine tests for top three finishers. Any help would be appreciated, as this goes for approval very soon.

Let’s be honest. This is for a high school, not an athletic facility. .2m is not going to make a difference because in all truthfulness, the chance in setting a record is rediculously low. Even if they did, that means they have the potential to do it again at a different meet.

Build the 8-lane. Tell whoevers going for the 6-er to come here so I can give them a good “talk”.

My sentiments exactly!

From my experience, the recent 6-lane tracks that are in my area are completely uneven. The lane widths are small in most cases and turn radii is tight with short curves (<90m in some cases). And state class competitions are held at these facilities! What I’ve witnessed from multiple class meets, is where a 5th place state class performer running out of lane 1 on these tracks is displaced for another 5th or 6th place performer on better designed tracks (mostly 8-lane) where the displaced performer was ranked levels ahead (1 sec or more).

The major problem is that we have a sole source for these constructions and they rarely seem to support arguments away from this to 8-lane structures.

Though our 6-lane track is some 23 years old and appears worse on 1st glance, it was designed and constructed with near ideal specifications (42" lanes, even distance curves/straights, well placed common line, etc.) for class type performances. Only an 8-lane dura-poly would be acceptable as a replacement.