Athletics – Venues

The professional athletic competitions almost always take place in either of these venues −

  • Stadiums
  • Grass courses
  • Woodland
  • Road-based courses

These venues ensure that all the athletic events that take place in a standardized manner, improving the safety of athletes, and the enjoyment for the spectators.

Track and Field Stadium

A standard outdoor track for athletic races is in the shape of a stadium which is 400 meters in length, and has at least eight lanes. Each lane is about 1.22 meters wide. Earlier, the tracks were covered by a dirt surface. The modern all-weather running tracks are covered by water-resistant synthetic running surface.


The indoor tracks are designed quite similarly to that of outdoor tracks, but these tracks are only 200 meters in length and have about four to eight lanes with each 0.90 meters to 1.10 meters in width. The bends of these indoor tracks are banked to make up for the smaller turning radius.

There is a 160-yard indoor track at Madison Square Garden used for the Millrose Games of athletics.

Cross-Country Courses

The cross-country competitions are held at venues which have long distance courses for running. As these are performed in open air and over long distances, the courses are heavily dependent and affected by the environment. The natural obstacles, tight turns, and irregular surface make it challenging enough.

In the professional and elite levels of cross-country races, the courses have to be looped. Each lap has to be at least 1750 meters to about 2000 meters in length. All natural and/or manmade obstacles like deep ditches, thick undergrowth etc. must be completed on foot throughout the course.

Road Courses

According to the IAAF, all the courses must be along man-made roads, bicycle paths, or footpaths. The traffic has to be cordoned off the roads during the competition. These races might start and/or finish at a track and field stadium.

Road Courses

These races can either be looped or from point to point, depending on the area and the organization. The athletes have to cover the distance of 5 km to 10 km. There are medical professionals alongside at certain points for taking care about the health of participants of long distance running.