Athletic Surfaces

Ensuring excellence: keep your facility in the running with the right athletics surface.

The beauty of modern athletics lies in its versatility to different sporting preferences and skills. Track and field has been a mainstay of sporting events for centuries – not least the Olympics. As the greatest sporting event on Earth reaches London in 2012 interest in athletics has never been higher. Indeed, Britain is going one step further, aiming to utilise the nation’s most awe inspiring sports pitch construction – the Olympic stadium – to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships on its state of the art track surfaces. There’s no doubt about it – athletics is taking the UK by storm.

It’s vital the to ensure that your athletics venue is geared up to stay at the forefront of this vibrant sport. Adaptable to indoor multi sports areas as much as to outdoor track surfaces, successful athletics depends on one factor over all others to enable sportsmen to perform brilliantly – the quality of the running track installation. It’s vitally important to get your synthetic sports surface right to ensure maximum performance, whether your users are amateur enthusiasts or training professionally.

How do specialist track surfaces aid athletics performance?

In a field of sports where performance is dependent on speed, power and momentum, the right track surface is crucial to enable competitors to perform to an optimum level. In fact a recent study by the Cranfield School of Management demonstrates a correlation between the quality of a  synthetic sports surface and the interaction of the sportsman with the surface. The good news is that amateur athletics can be practiced on a variety of track surfaces – from 3G rubber crumb to needle punch and sand filled track surfaces. This gives you the flexibility to consider other issues such as cost, maintenance and longevity without compromising performance.

What is the best choice of synthetic sports surface for athletics training?

Athletics track surfaces can be installed in a number of facilities with a variety of options – from double or triple lane rubber running tracks incorporated into a multi sports area to full sized sports surfaces for events from javelin through to shotput. If you are investing in a specialist sports pitch construction where professional or semi-professional athletes can train you should prioritise superb quality. The best track surface available is the full pour system. It fully meets the regulations of the International Association of Athletics Federations whilst delivering a life span of at least 20 years. Requiring very little maintenance, this is an excellent option for a synthetic sports surface that will meet the demands of regular professional training and mark your venue out as a flagship facility.

An alternative rubber running track for heavy usage is the sandwich system. Combining a rubber crumb base mat with multiple layers achieves force reduction – this reduces the wearing effects of impact on your track surface, gearing it up to cope with regular and prolonged use. You should expect to factor in regular maintenance to this type of synthetic sports surface – but with a life span of 15 years this is an ideal choice for sports pitch constructions with a very heavy footfall of regular trainers who will and put your running track installation under constant strain.

For smaller and more amateur facilities a popular choice of synthetic sports surface is the spray coat system. This does require the most maintenance out of all athletics track surfaces – however it is cost effective to purchase and install. It is an ideal application for smaller track surfaces – a typical example would be a school incorporating a rubber running track into their sports hall, or an amateur athletics club whose regular training is housed in a MUGA.

How do I accommodate disabled sportsmen with my track surface?

Equal access in sport is a must these days and with the widely publicised paralympics just around the corner public expectations of disability access are quite rightly at a peak. In fact, when accommodating disabled athletes the track surface itself should not need to be adapted. What is vital is to ensure that your sports pitch construction or MUGA takes disability requirements into account across the board – from ensuring suitable access and facilities such as toilets and changing rooms to accommodating different disabilities from visual to motion impairment. For full information consult our guide to ensuring the correct disability access in your sports pitch construction.