UK Running Track Directory - Help Page

Hopefully this site is straight forward to use but this page attempts to explain the scope of the data that is presented.


Search pages - at present there is only one search page for existing tracks which is sorted by the 'Place' of a track. Click here to go to it. I hope to add search pages sorted by other criteria in due course.

Track pages - the content of a track page is explained below.

Track name - this is the official name of the track. If a track is part of a bigger complex such as a Sports Centre or school I usually append the word 'Track' to signify that the track is not the only thing there.

Place - this is generally the postal town of the track although some discretion is used if this would be potentially misleading. See also NUTS Name.

Address - this is the full postal address of the track in the style recommended by the Royal Mail so post towns are in capitals and counties omitted. If the track does not have a formal address then the address given is usually that of the road on which the main entrance is situated.

Telephone - the number at the track is given if known or there is one. If the number is not at the track then this is stated.

Fax - similar to Telephone

Type - track surface, track length, number of complete lanes, number lanes down the straight are given in that order.

Surface is either synthetic (i.e. all-weather, 'tartan', etc.), synthetic (incomplete oval) - i.e. just a straight or a straight and a bend, synthetic (in construction), cinder (includes redgra, shale, real 'cinder', etc.), grass (but only ones permanently marked out are listed), indoor or hard (e.g. concrete, tarmac, asphalt etc.).

Track length is the distance around the track in lane 1. 'm' means metres, 'y' yards. If it is not known whether a track was ever converted from 440y to 400m when athletics in the UK went metric in 1969 then 400m/440y is stated. '(est)' means estimate. '<' means less than but exact length is not known. Note that 352y is a 5 laps to the mile track.

Number of complete lanes - think this is self-explanatory

Number of lanes down the straight - some tracks have a few extra 'sprint' lanes. Usually the extra ones are on the 'home' straight but not always. The number quoted is thus the maximum of the number of lanes down each straight.

County - this is the 'ceremonial' county as opposed to the 'administrative', 'postal' or in athletics terms the 'competition' county. Ceremonial counties only exist in England - read this for a good explanation. Generally ceremonial and administrative counties are the same but some ceremonial counties include surrounding unitary authorities which were created in the 1998 Local Government reorganisation. In the rest of the UK the county shown equates to that of the unitary authority as these are the only form of local government outside England.

NUTS Name - this is the unique name given to each track by the National Union of Track & Field Statisticians for which incidentally I compile the annual men's middle and long distance (600m to 10K) rankings. These names minus any spaces and in lower case are used for the name of each track page. I have had to invent quite a few NUTS names as a good majority of tracks never stage meetings where a performance good enough to qualify for the national rankings is recorded. The policy with these names is to use place names rather than stadium names. If there is more than one track in a particular place then letters in brackets are used to denote venues other than the 'main' one. There is no hard and fast rule about allocating a NUTS name to a track but generally the postal town of a track is used.

Electronic maps - the map image in the top right hand corner is a free service provided by Multi Media Mapping who use maps produced by Collins and Ordnance Survey. The particular map shown is dependent on finding a suitable postcode 'near' to the track. The red circle on the map shows the location of this postcode and is thus not necessarily exactly coincident with the track. At present the default is for street maps to be shown in London at 1:10,000 scale and road maps in the rest of the mainland UK at 1:100,000 scale. Therefore no map images are currently available for tracks in Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands although limited maps for these places can be found in the World map section of the Multi Media Mapping site.

If you click on the map image a new browser window is opened which shows the map image within the Multi Media Mapping website and so allows you to view the map at different scales and pan it in different directions. However, when known, this map is selected by the National Grid Reference of the track (see below) rather than the postcode and so the red circle should appear directly over the track.

The 'Electronic map' links provide an alternative way of viewing the map. Clicking on the Multi Media Mapping 1:10,000 link gives a street map of the vicinity of the track. Outside London the maps only show streets but are nevertheless of high quality. The 1:50,000 link gives a view of the local area and the 1:200,000 link is a good road map scale. In each case the map is referenced, when known, by the National Grid Reference of the track rather than the postcode and so the red circle should appear over the track.

The fourth link (and fifth one for London area tracks) uses the maps used by UK Street Map who also use the Collins maps but their map images are larger but unfortunately only have street-levels maps in the London area. An arrow is shown to denote the location of the track. As for the Multi Media Mapping links, this should be very accurate if quoted by National Grid Reference and a good approximation if quoted by postcode.

Clicking on any of the map links (both text and map image) uses the same browser window. If you want to use a different window then (in IE at least) right-click on a link and select 'Open in New Window'.

OS National Grid Reference: An Ordnance Survey National Grid Reference in the form SU 123456 which I use uniquely defines any location in the UK to the nearest 100m. I use the centre of the track as its location. The two letters define the particular 100km square on which the track is situated. A National Grid Reference is similar but is a purely numerical reference and is usually quoted as a 6 figure (x, y) coordinate pair to define a position to the nearest metre although the last 3 digits are usually given to the nearest hundred to also give a position to the nearest 100m. For example. SU 123456 would be 412300, 145600. There is a diagram of how to convert between the two systems on the OS website.

OS National Grid References only appear on OS maps like the 1:25,000 Explorer series and 1:50,000 Landranger series. National Grid References can appear on any map and are shown on the A-Z, Collins and OS/Philip's street atlases.

Paper maps: The street maps and atlases for which I generally try to quote grid square references are A-Z, Collins, Red Book and OS/Philip's. The references are given in the style used by the particular map. If a track spans more than one grid square then the square quoted is that in which the greatest part of the track falls. I also try to quote the 1:25,000 (Explorer, Outdoor Leisure or Pathfinder) and 1:50,000 (Landranger) series OS map that the track is on. I always try to use the latest edition of a map except if (Ed x) appears. If you want to know which edition of a particular map I have used please contact me.

Train: The nearest station to the track is listed. If the station is more than a mile away the distance (by the shortest pedestrian street route unless otherwise stated) is shown to the nearest 0.5 mile (M stands for mile). If there is more than one station nearby then I usually only show additional stations if they are nearly the same distance away from the track as the 'nearest' station, or are on a different branch or are 'major' stations where they would be more chance of catching a bus and/or taxi.

Opening Times: The times shown are when the general public is normally allowed to use the track. Club times are normally also shown if these are exclusive to club members or have some other significance like being the only time an 'unstaffed' track is used on a regular, formal basis. Most of the time 'exclusive' really means 'by prior arrangement' or 'great, potential new member - step this way' so if you want to use the track at such times it is essential to ask in advance. Please note however that some tracks are regularly booked by schools on weekday afternoons and for football/rugby matches and athletics meetings in the evenings and at weekends so it is always best to ring in advance if you are unsure.

Is the track locked/unavailable for casual use by the public at other times: A simple 'Yes' or 'No' is only given for this. There are some tracks that are not locked or only have very low fences around them and nobody seems to mind if it is used 'out-of-hours' - this would be 'No'. However if the track is locked or 'out-of-hours' use is not allowed then 'Yes' is shown. If I don't know what the arrangements are then I state 'Unknown - should assume Yes'.

Track Diagram: When available a track diagram is provided which is a schematic representation of the configuration and position of the field event and steeplechase water jump facilities which are described in words in the next two fields.

Field event facilities: If known I list the number of locations for each event. HJ is high jump, PV pole vault, LJ long jump, TJ triple jump, SP shot putt, DT discus, HT hammer and JT javelin. In the case of PV, LJ and TJ the number of separate take-off locations are shown. For PV this would be the number of boxes, for LJ the number of take-off boards or white lines. I have decided not to list all the different length TJ take-off boards as one has to stop somewhere!

An indication is also given on the configuration of the runways:

This can get rather complicated and so hopefully the track diagrams will make things clearer.

For DT and HT, an indication is given as to whether the cage is for both events and if it is within the track arena (i.e. internal) or external. If there is a DT/HT cage with just one circle - i.e. the larger DT one then this is indicated as a board would be required to reduce the width for HT.

If the breakdown is not known then "Full" indicates all field-event facilities are catered. If Limited is stated that not all events are possible.

S/C Water Jump: If known, an indication is given as to whether this is inside or outside the track and whether the height is fixed or adjustable to allow for women's races. There is an optional IAAF requirement for the effective width of the water-jump pit to be adjustable as well but to my knowledge no tracks in the UK have this facility.

Changing: An indication of the changing facilities available to track users is given. Full means that a changing room, toilets and hot showers are available for both sexes. However no indication is usually given on the size and/or quality of them. Often facilities will exist but may not always be available so if in doubt ring in advance or come changed.

Seating: If known, the number of covered and uncovered permanent seats for spectators is given.

Track Certification: If known, the status of the Track Certification is given - this however only applies to synthetic tracks. Most leagues will now only allow meetings to be staged on certified tracks.

Floodlights: If a simple 'Yes' is shown then the lights cover the track and the infield although the intensity of the beams will vary greatly from track to track. If the lights are not full or are not always turned on then their scope is given when known. Many tracks will not turn on lights for a small number of people (e.g. on non-club nights) so it is always best to check in advance. Furthermore many tracks do not permit any throwing under lights and/or in the winter so it is always best to ring to confirm your particular requirements.

Clubs: The clubs shown are those that are thought to have regular club sessions at the track. I am starting to hyperlink to club websites but the full list is on my UK Athletics Club Website Directory. Please note however that the number of clubs on the net is still rather small. If you cannot find a contact for the club you are interested in try contacting UK Athletics or try looking on the relevant Local Government website (see my links page for some indexes).

Last update: This is generally the date when the opening times and charges were last updated and/or checked.

Pictures: If available, a link is provided to my own picture page for the track and/or any pictures on external sites.

Other Info: This is a free-format section to allow me to mention other things about the track. Where known I try to list things like the history of the track (e.g. when built, surface upgraded, pavilion built), plans for future developments and anything else notable about the track (e.g. the track is irregularly shaped, is a non-standard colour, notable performances set on the track etc. etc.)

Tim Grose

12th January 2000