Officials in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province decided to cut corners on the construction of a new running track – by leaving them on.
Pressed for time before an upcoming Communist Party inspection, stadium workers opted to cover up their worn, curved lanes with five nesting rectangles.
According to an unnamed Qinghe Forestry Bureau employee, it was the faster and easier way to complete the project in time.
“A provincial-level leader was coming for an inspection,” the employee explained to the New York Times.
Faster for painters, sure. But for athletes? The consensus among local runners is that the right-angle compromise was, well, wrong.
“It’s impossible to run on such a surface,” long-distance runner Zhang Yong told the U.K. Mirror.
The bizarre track has drawn ridicule at home and abroad. Stadium managers have been left scratching their heads as to what to do now that inspectors have left without leaving further instruction from party officials to return the lanes to their oval shape.
So for now, jokes continue to run amok on social media.
“We have become the first country in the world to have such tracks!” one Sina Weibo user snickered. “I believe [Chinese athletes] will outperform other countries’ [athletes] after scientific training on such track.”