New Running Track Surface in Westminster

New Running Track Surface for Westminster City Council

The ETC Sports Surfaces team is delighted to announce completion of a major running track surface upgrade at Paddington Recreation Ground. The project saw us upgrade the site’s 400 metre athletics track with a new Stobitan® SC polymeric surface. Completed in just eight weeks, the project forms part of our £1.5 million contract with Everyone Active, funded by Westminster City Council.

Manufactured by the Stockmeier Group, these porous running track surfaces have been installed worldwide since 1991. They offer a finely granulated finish with high spike resistance, providing a soft, comfortable, professional quality finish. They are also fully tested and certified to meet IAAF and EN 14877 standards. For this project, we moved away from the traditional red running track surface finish. Instead, at the client’s request, we finished the track in a striking shade of blue – a modern choice, in keeping with Westminster City Council’s brand colours. We finished the track resurfacing with the Council’s logo – a lasting testament to the funding they have provided to upgrade this important Central London facility.

Paddington Recreation Ground is Westminster City Council’s largest open space, welcoming more than 1.2 million visitors every year. So, it was vital that our athletic track surface contractors worked efficiently, and sensitively to safeguard the surrounding natural parkland and the many people who enjoy the recreation ground. Naturally, the client expected our usual high standard of workmanship. We were proud to deliver exactly that within the agreed budget and a guaranteed time scale.

What makes the athletic track surface at Paddington Recreation Ground so special?

When it comes to accessing sport in the city, it’s hard to beat what’s on offer at Paddington Recreation Ground. It offers a huge range of sporting facilities that are available for everyone to use, 365 days a year. They include 3G pitches, cricket and hockey pitches, tennis courts, gyms, plus a wide variety of conservation, garden, and play areas. What’s more, the running track surfaces are free for anyone to use. So, they offer a valuable training option for serious athletes. And, of course, they are a fun way for community members to test their speed, fitness, and stamina!

This much-loved community site also has historic value. It is on record as being the earliest public athletic ground of its kind in London, operating as early as 1888. The grounds are recognised as a Site of Local Importance for nature conservation, and once again won a Green Flag Award in 2021. Visitors therefore enjoy the facilities within a historically and environmentally important green space that serves the entire community.

Overcoming the challenges of track resurfacing in a city-based parkland site

ETC Sports Surfaces’ Client Services Manager, Bob Froud, has more than four decades’ experience in constructing sports surfaces and facilities. In particular, he is an expert in the design and testing of polymeric surfaces for local authorities and private clients. He was a Senior Consultant for the Centre for Sports Technology, who were responsible for checking and testing the construction elements of the athletics facilities for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. Bob says: “The relationship we enjoy with Westminster City Council and Everyone Active is longstanding. We have completed all projects within our multi-million-pound contract to a very high standard. We take great care to minimise disruption to both site users, and the natural environment that makes this recreation ground so special. And, of course, we pride ourselves on selecting industry-leading surfaces that balance value for money with an outstanding final product.”

“Our contracting team met some very complex technical challenges during this project,” Bob adds. “The asphalt layer underneath the old polymeric surface was not in great condition,” he explains. “But re-laying it from scratch was not an option. Our team applied all of their expertise to overcome the issue, laying a new surface that guarantees quality and longevity, even with this track’s heavy usage. In addition, working on a site located within parkland is never easy. As a member of the Considerate Constructor’s Scheme, we worked hard to ensure that vehicle access and public safety were handled safely and efficiently. But perhaps the biggest challenge was delivering two new running track surfaces (the 400-metre track plus an adjacent sprint straight, completed in 2020) with minimum disruption to facility users. On such a busy site, we had to ensure that we completed the works on time, whilst allowing neighbouring facilities to continue operating. For example, there is a fantastic 3G pitch right next to the athletics track. That was tricky, because there were games happening constantly. As a result, we faced the risk of accidental damage to the polymeric surface as it was curing, and to the respray as it was drying. But we are pleased that we managed to mitigate all of these risks, meeting our publicly stated deadline and enabling all surrounding facilities to remain open.”

Everyone Active’s Sean Stewart, is the Maintenance Manager for Paddington Recreation Ground. He agrees that the project has been a great success.  “Throughout the pandemic lockdowns, usage of the grounds dramatically increased,” he recently confirmed. “This put huge additional pressures on our contractors and consultants, with demand for facilities surging. Our contractor, ETC Sports Ltd, worked on this major running track surface upgrade in tandem with our consultants, the Centre for Sports Technology Ltd. In agreement with them, and our site-based staff, ETC introduced a system of small works to enable our sports facilities to remain open as long as possible during the works. The work upgrading the surface progressed to a very successful conclusion on March 31st, 2021.”

This is just one in a package of construction and improvement works we are delivering for Paddington Recreation Ground. As well as the new athletics track, we’ll be updating on other completed projects in the near future, so keep an eye on our news pages for more to come! We are delighted that Paddington Recreation Ground is now equipped with this gold standard facility. We wish all of their visitors many happy years using the running track surfaces that we have installed.

Find out more about our athletics track construction services here.

Connect with our project partners:

Everyone Active: @EveryoneActive

Westminster City Council Active Division: @ActiveWCC

Centre for Sports Technology: @MScGlobalLondon

Accreditation: @sapca