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June 26th, 2014, 01:00 AM   #1
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The racetrack shape

I'd like to know why racetracks are shaped the way the are? Like a rectangle with two semi-cirles capped on the widths.
I can only think of non-mathematical reasons like:
1. to accommodate the rectangular football field
2. to allow for straight-track racing events like the 100m dash etc.

Are there mathematical/engineering reasons for this? Something to do with minimum area/difficulties with a rectangular or circular track/minimum material required for construction etc.

By the way what is the name of this shape? Thanks
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June 26th, 2014, 03:05 AM   #2
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Racetracks are loops I suppose because then it's easier to accommodate for much longer distances in a constant area of ground.

Racetracks could be an oval shape but then the 100m races wouldn't be straight.

The fact that part of racetracks are curved means that the runners must feel an accelaration on the curved parts which means they have to put in more effort on those parts (I think) so it's actually probably inaccurate to quote a 400 metre world record as the best a human can do.


I don't know what the name for the shape of an olympic racetrack is.
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June 26th, 2014, 12:07 PM   #3
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The track shape is called oval.
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June 26th, 2014, 07:56 PM   #4
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The main reason is that the field events take place inside the track. Events like the javelin involve throwing something about 100m, so you need an infield at least 100m long.
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