Sports officials in Tonghe County in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province have built the world’s first and only rectangular running track. That’s a weird shape for a track, but their reason for building it is weirder – because they couldn’t get an oval one ready in time for an inspection!
The running track was built as a part of a larger, big-budget project – the renovation of Tonghe County’s 10,000-square foot stadium. Local authorities were behind schedule and time was running out. With a Communist Party inspection looming over their heads, the managers of the project simply decided to ditch the traditional oval design and go for a simpler rectangular one instead.
While the rest of the stadium looks brilliant with its perfectly laid grass and excellent seating facilities, the rectangular track sticks out like a sore thumb. The original track at the stadium was actually oval, but the officials explained that it was so worn out that it couldn’t just be used as a template for re-painting. The inspection was a last-minute decision, and the managers had to complete the track in a hurry, so they simply decided on a rectangle with 90-degree bends that were easier to measure and lay out.