How to Make Line Markings for a Running Track

running track image by Alison Bowden from

If you are helping to prepare a track at a running facility or school, it is important that you know how to properly mark the lines. The lines on the track determine runners starting and running positions, and have a large impact on the race. Therefore, it is critical that the lines be drawn correctly.

Drawing lines on a track is not difficult as long as you know the correct proportions and positions of all of the lines.

Research the track that you are going to be marking and obtain its exact dimensions. Most tracks have some small peculiarity that will affect the way that they need to be marked. Learning to adjust to these changes is the sign of someone experienced in track marking.

Obtain track or athletic paint to paint the lines with. You don't want to use other types of paint as they will be too expensive for making the lines on a track.

Paint the individual lanes. The lines between the lanes should usually be 5cm thick when painting an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulation track. On an eight-lane track, each lane should be 1.22m wide. This measurement includes the 5cm line to the outside of the running lane.

Paint the finish line on the track. This line should go immediately before the first curve in the track begins.

Mark the starting lines for the individual lanes in the required positions for different events. Follow the measurements for calculating where to paint the lines in the guidelines for the track type that you are painting. For example, the IAAF has very specific guidelines that state where all lines need to be indicated for different events. More start lines may need to be painted if there are more events being run on the track.

Paint on any special markings that are required based on track and event type. This might include marks for hurdles, zone indication lines or relay markings.