Bad Wigins wrote:
Because of the Coriolis effect. Just as hurricanes go counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and water goes down the drain counter-clockwise, so when people run they tend to turn left. So they made the tracks go left.
In the southern hemisphere, it would be better to turn right. But there is more northern hemisphere than southern hemisphere so the standard is based on the northern hemisphere.
They could change to clockwise in the south, but then they'd have to dig up all the left-turning tracks and replace them with right-turning tracks which would be prohibitively expensive. Are you gonna pay for all that, then quit complaining.
I was going to post something about the Coriolis effect (which doesn't affect water in drains, by the bye), but you were faster and better.
Well played, sir. Credit where it's due.
PS The Iffley Road at Oxford was formerly a third of a mile in length--and races were run on it clockwise. Fortunately, it was changed to a quarter-mile (Roger Bannister played a hand in that as an undergraduate, IIRC) and its running direction reversed *before* 1954. With those changes in place, Sir Roger ran the first sub-4:00 mile there.