China's Square Running Track: Fact Or Fiction?

A sports complex in China may or may not feature a track with right-angled lanes for running. Is it true? Possibly. The backstory contains just enough logic to make it believable.

Reported by The Telegraph, who themselves were rehashing a Chinese television program, senior Communist Party officials decided to swing by the dilapidated complex as a last-minute addition to a tour of northeastern China. Local caretakers responded by going into Full Red Alert, slapping together an emergency facelift, which included resurfacing the track. And this is the crux: under time constraints, it was quicker to paint lanes with straight lines (never before seen in the history of the world) instead of curved (every track ever). Why not.

As you might expect, the shortest distance between two points is, in practice, pretty worthless. "Normally curves speed people up, but these corners slow you down," one local said. "It would be easy to fall," said another.


Why is this story probably bullshit? Because China knows what a track is. They just hosted the Olympics, and Chinese women hold multiple world records. On the Orientialist viral bullshit meter, we score this story four uncles fed to the dogs, out of five.

[Photo: Telegraph]