Standard 400-Meter Track Marking, Diagonal | Top Ten 400 track Athletes of all time, men and women


A 400-meter track is a standard facility used for various track and field events. Proper design and accurate marking of the track are essential to ensure fair competition and accurate timing. This article provides an overview of the design considerations and marking process for a standard 400-meter track.

standard 400-meter track
 Standard 400-Meter Track Marking

2.Design Considerations

Before marking the track, several key design considerations must be taken into account:


A standard 400-meter track consists of two parallel straights and two semicircular bends. The straights are each 84.39 meters long, while the radius of the bends is 36.5 meters. The track has eight lanes, each 1.22 meters wide, including the outer lanes.

2.Lane Width: 

Lane width is an important factor in track design. The standard lane width of 1.22 meters provides enough space for athletes to comfortably run side by side while minimizing the distance covered in the outer lanes.

3.Lane Markings: 

Lane markings are typically painted white and include staggered starting lines for each lane, as well as indicators for the exchange zones in relay events. These markings must be accurate to ensure fair competition.

4.Track Surface: 

The track surface should be made of materials that provide good grip, cushioning, and drainage. Common materials include polyurethane, rubber, or latex-based surfaces.

3.Marking Process

Measuring and Layout:

Start by measuring the radius for the bends (36.5 meters) and the length of the straights (84.39 meters each).

Using these measurements, mark the center of the track and establish the straightaways and bend curves.

Lane Markings:

Begin marking the innermost lane (lane 1) by measuring from the inner edge of the track. Marking can be done using chalk lines, tape, or paint.

Measure and mark the remaining lanes by adding the lane width to the previous marking. For example, for lane 2, add 1.22 meters to the marking of lane 1.

Starting Lines:

The starting lines are marked on the straightaways. Measure and mark each starting line perpendicular to the track's edge.

Use the standard line spacing (9.76 meters) for the starting lines. The first starting line is situated 9.76 meters from the curve's inner edge.

Exchange Zones:

In relay events, exchange zones are marked on the track to indicate where baton handovers should take place. These are typically located on the straightaways.

Measure and mark the exchange zones accurately to ensure fair competition for all relay teams.

Curve Markings:

The curved sections of the track are defined by the bend radius (36.5 meters).

These curves can be calculated based on the known radius, and measurements can be taken to ensure accuracy during marking.

Additional Markings:

Mark distances, such as the 100m, 200m, and 300m points, along the inner edge of the track. These markings help athletes gauge their progress during races.

4.Diagonal of a Standard 400-Meter Track

The Pythagorean theorem may be used to determine the diagonal of a typical 400-meter track, which has two straights and two semicircular curves. A rectangular track's diagonal runs from the first straight's starting corner to the second straight's ending corner. 


Length of each straight (L) = 84.39 meters

Width of the track (W) = 1.22 meters (for one lane)

Using the Pythagorean theorem:

Diagonal (D)² = Length² + Width²

Substitute the values:

D² = (2 * L)² + W²

D² = (2 * 84.39 meters)² + (1.22 meters)²

D² = 141.72² + 1.49

D² = 20084.4784 + 1.49

D² = 20085.9684

Taking the square root:

D = √20085.9684

D ≈ 141.91 meters

So, the diagonal of a standard 400-meter track is approximately 141.91 meters.

5.Here are the top 10 400 track athletes of all time, men and women:

  • Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa) - Men's world record holder (43.03 seconds) and Olympic champion (2016)

  • Michael Johnson (United States) - Two-time Olympic champion (1996, 2000) and world record holder (43.18 seconds)

  • Carl Lewis (United States) - Four-time Olympic champion (1984, 1988, 1992)

  • Butch Reynolds (United States) - Former world record holder (43.29 seconds)

  • Isiah Young (United States) - 2012 Olympic silver medalist

  • Quincy Watts (United States) - 1992 Olympic champion

  • Fred Kerley (United States) - 2021 Olympic champion

  • Jeremy Wariner (United States) - Two-time Olympic champion (2004, 2008)

  • Lee Evans (United States) - 1968 Olympic champion

  • Ralph Boston (United States) - 1960 Olympic champion


  • Marita Koch (East Germany) - World record holder (47.60 seconds) and Olympic silver medalist (1980)

  • Marie-José Pérec (France) - Olympic champion (1996)

  • Jarmila Kratochvílová (Czechoslovakia) - Former world record holder (47.99 seconds)

  • Christine Arron (France) - 1996 Olympic silver medalist

  • Ana Quirot (Cuba) - 1980 Olympic champion

  • Yuliya Nazarova (Russia) - 2004 Olympic champion

  • Sanya Richards-Ross (United States) - 2012 Olympic champion

  • Allyson Felix (United States) - Nine-time Olympic medalist

  • Cathy Freeman (Australia) - Olympic champion (2000)

  • Florence Griffith-Joyner (United States) - Former world record holder (48.16 seconds)

This list is subjective and there are many other great 400m runners who could be included. However, these athletes have all achieved incredible things and are considered to be among the best of all time.

standard 400-meter track
 Standard 400-Meter Track Marking


Properly designing and marking a standard 400-meter track is crucial to ensure fair competition and accurate timing in track and field events. Precise measurements, attention to detail, and adherence to standard dimensions are key elements of a well-marked track. Whether for professional competitions or recreational use, an accurately marked track enhances the experience for athletes and spectators alike.

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