3 years ago#1
007guy
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Some of my running friends were wondering why we race counter-clockwise on a track. ,,,we unwind it during warm-ups and cool downs, but we don't race that way.

Is there some silly reason like the 385 yards in a marathon?

Was it just tradition or superstition?

Does it go back to the ancient olympics - is that the way it had to be to please the gods?

How come there isn't an entirely seperate set of clockwise world records?.... hey, that gives me an idea, maybe I can have one of those records if I get somebody to have a clockwise track meet and invite Guinness and his book (and his beer).

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3 years ago#2
moshulu
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I thought it was because most people are right handed. Right handed people, usually have a stronger left leg.

My best clockwise track mile is around 7:00 minutes. I usually crave a Guinness after this, because I've just finished a speedwork session. I have run a 2:05, 800 and a 53, 400, going clockwise. I haven't done intervals over 800 going the opposite direction. It feels really strange to me, to run fast clockwise, on a track.

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3 years ago#3
newsreader
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Indeed.

I once did 6 mile in around 33 minutes running clockwise and the whole time all I could think was how weird it was. I think this pace was just slow enough that I didn't run into any problems negotiating the curves and allowed me to possibly use different more rested muscles.

As for why we run the direction we do, I believe there is a story behind it. In fact it has been discussed on this list before, but I forget what the conclusion was.

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3 years ago#4
TrAI
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Never thought about this until now. My run from home takes a anti-clockwise route, once I tried it clockwise but didn't like it. I put this down to the roads and number of crossings, but maybe running anti-clockwise is much

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3 years ago#5
Lindsey
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All you have to do is cross the equator and running clockwise feels fine.

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3 years ago#6
sotiris13
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[report about strange feeling, running track clockwise snipped]

Ah, I see, it's the same phenomenon as with vortices

Cheers,

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3 years ago#7
stevo_jimmy
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I believe it has more to do with the spectators than with the athletes. Consider other track sports such speedskating, auto racing, horse racing, etc. Since most of the 'spectator world' visually tracks (e.g., reads) left to right, it is easier to observe the sport on a counter-clockwise progression around the track. Imagine observing the difference...it makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

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3 years ago#8
Jiggs
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Precisely!!!

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3 years ago#9
arly2380
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Very likely, it's that there's no reason at all other than when tracks wer invented, someone picked a direction. Maybe for a while people ran both directions, but some people managed to convince others that one was the 'right' way.

Note that in some places, particularly smaller indoor tracks (e.g., at health clubs), the direction changes every day. I think this is because constantly turning the same way on a small track can quickly lead to injuries.

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3 years ago#10
Heena Hirji
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The only sensible reason I've heard so far

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3 years ago#11
Baradaf
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I thought it was because most people are right handed. Right handed people, usually have a stronger left leg.

Yeahbut... that's why most people lost in the woods circle clockwise...

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