In a typical distance running competition, I find a mismatch between official course distance and actual distance covered. I wondered what's behind this, for a practical reason: it can lead to significant failure in pacing, especially in long races. Key to the quest is how official course distance is actually determined. This first post of a series is about the running track. Wait, isn't the whole point of a track that it is standardized to a 400 m lap? Actually, no.