Paul Drayton runs on the old 440y track in 1964; notice the newer "shorter" lanes on the inside of the original curb.

We’ve noticed on many sources that for folks seeing the live video for the first time, the setup of our track here at Franklin Field is a tad bit confusing.  Here is the scoop:

The stadium was built in 1922, before the relays were run in lanes around the oval.  What is Lane 5 today was Lane 1 in the original cinder configuration.  However, when it became apparent that the existing track would be too small for oval relays in lanes (as there was only space for 4-5 lanes), the university decided to widen the track.  However, the higher-ups at Penn decided that they didn’t want to remove the brick wall of the stadium to put new lanes on the outside; the only option was to build lanes shorter than 440y on the inside.  Thus, the first 4 lanes are shorter than 400m today.  For most 4×400 trials, the interior lanes are not used, but for all races in lanes, some teams do have to run more than a lap for the first leg of the 4×400 or for all of the 4×100 & 4×200.  With 4×400’s utilizing a 3 turn stagger, the 2nd leg will run one turn in his or her lane, then cut out to lane five.  On television, this can look a little strange, but the simple issue is that the stadium is older than the necessity for a 9 lane facility.