These Tracks are made for Running

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These Tracks are made for Running

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:15 pm

These Tracks are made for Running
By: Stanley DeGeorgio

Here’s a question: In what context would the words ‘solid PU’, ‘composite’ or ‘sandwich’, and ‘porous’ be used? No, its not new ranges of sandwiches you eat for your lunch.

It wouldn’t be very surprising if athletes themselves knew nothing about it, even though they may have used one or more of the above.

They are in fact, different kinds of synthetic tracks that are used for athletics today. Where athletics events were once held on a reasonably level grassy field or even on bare earth (in hot and dusty places), now they are increasingly being replaced by modern synthetic surfaces. When sometimes tenths or even hundredths of a second separate a champion from the others, one needs to get serious about training and training conditions - such as tracks, training equipment etc.

Sports clubs, colleges etc. around the world are increasingly choosing synthetic athletics tracks as they are suitable for use in all weather conditions. They are often laid surrounding an artificial turf pitch. The choice of the kind of track would revolve around durability of the track, against its cost. Durability includes its ability to withstand wear and damage due to the use of spikes, and sun and water damage, and depends chiefly on the thickness of the surface. A thicker surface also gives the athlete greater support. However the greater the thickness, the higher is the cost.

Before the synthetic surface can be laid, the site has to be prepared by excavating, draining and filling it with a base made of crushed stone or a bitumen bound material.

The most expensive by far are the solid PU or solid polyurethane surfaces, which are constructed using, surprisingly, liquid polyurethane, and rubber crumb. Such a surface is non-porous; therefore it should be constructed in a way such as to avoid ‘ponding’. Porous surfaces, as the name suggest are permeable to water, and ‘sandwich’ or composite surfaces are a combination of the above two. Whilst the ‘porous’ surfaces are the least expensive, the ‘sandwich’ is a compromise between the two. Regular maintenance of the track is also recommended to maintain suitable running conditions.

Some manufacturers in the UK offer a turnkey service, from the initial consultation to the supply and installation of tracks to IAAF specifications as well as track and field equipment and suitable floodlighting.

So what’s holding you back, get out those shoes and start running!

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