It has actually been an ext than two decades since Hempfield High college in Landisville, Pa., installed its original outdoor track. Due to the fact that its debut in 1992, the track has been resurfaced twice as result of the hefty traffic the sees native high college athletes, physical education and learning classes, youth sports participants and also community events. Dan Forry, chief operation officer because that the Hempfield institution District, took note of the wear at the starting line and also jump areas, and after talking with a few track surfacing professionals, do the decision to replace the currently surface.

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"As we started looking in ~ it, we began realizing the track had actually reached the life cycle," Forry says. "I told some vendors and also suppliers the the monitor was more than two decades old and they i agreeed that we had absolutely gotten whatever we might out of that track."



Last February, the Hempfield college Board authorized a $1.2 million task to not just install a new synthetic turf field, but to replace the monitor surface, as well. Getting the board"s approval expected going beyond numbers and pictures. "Early on, I brought the school administrators out and just to walk the track," states Forry. "Many hadn"t checked out it, and also it really gave them perspective."

Maximizing athletes" performance while protecting them indigenous injury requires acute fist to a track"s surface. Athletics administrators and also maintenance professionals must think about a variety of variables to ensure maximum return ~ above their an extensive investment.


(Before & Afters Courtesy that Regupol) Click right here to see much more knowing when come resurface her track — or change it — starts v recognizing the warning signs beyond just industry-accepted life cycles. "The very first thing you have to do once visually inspecting a track is watch if there"s delamination, cracks, locations of the track where the surface ar isn"t attached to the substrate," says Mike Gasparovic, vice president of research advance with Beynon sporting activities Surfaces in hunt Valley, Md., addressing among the misconceptions around how aging is perceived. "Aging isn"t so much around the color as it is performance."

John Aten, vice president of sales and marketing because that Lebanon, Pa.-based surfacing manufacturer Regupol America, agrees that there room a few signs her track requirements replacing that could not be noticeable to the untrained eye. "Most civilization will say, "My present don"t look as bright, let"s repaint them," but nobody"s ever before looking that carefully at the actual track surface, an especially at the edges and where the surface ar butts up against the drainage," Aten says.

(Photos Courtesy of Hempfield college District) Click here to see much more

Aten recommends a considerable preventative maintenance setup to for sure maximum life for a track. Specifically, as soon as a track is outside its guarantee period, a qualified track builder or installer need to periodically inspect the track, specifically as that nears the end of the life cycle. "Running tracks, favor turf fields, are large investments, and also you desire to have them periodically checked out," the says. "If girlfriend take treatment of a track and also you fix little issues now, it"s walking to conserve you big-time in the lengthy run."

How a monitor is provided can additionally increase or to decrease its life expectancy, and also force institutions to resurface your track lot sooner 보다 they should. "People think tracks space indestructible," Aten says. "They drive vehicles throughout the monitor or your athletes misuse lock by wearing the wrong size spikes, because that example. They end up being abusive, thinking the rubber surface can handle anything. Together a result, they end up shortening the life span."

During practice and competition, the within lanes have the right to be used excessively, i m sorry can likewise accelerate the undertake beyond specific high-traffic areas, such as the starting block area for the 100-meter dash and also 110-meter high hurdles. Says Aten, "Not moving world off to an area to exercise their starts will certainly accelerate stay very, an extremely fast." 


Once it has actually been created that a surface demands to be replaced, the immediate problem is exactly how much it"s going come cost. Depending upon the kind of surface — polyurethane, latex, rubberized — a running track can selection in expense from $50,000 to $1 million. The life cycle of that surface ar is frequently reflective the the quantity invested, through cheaper latex equipment delivering three to 5 years of service life compared to polyurethane systems, which can last almost everywhere from five years to more than 20 years, which to be the situation with Franklin & Marshall university in Lancaster, Pa.

Only boy patchwork had actually been required on Franklin & Marshall"s polyurethane track, set up by Regupol 23 year ago, but noting the track was beginning to wear thin, director of grounds Ted Schmid and also the university recently made decision it was time to include a complete resurfacing lift. "I think the life expectancy was 10 to 15 years, so i was certainly surprised to gain that longevity," claims Schmid, that admits the lone motivating element behind resurfacing to be the thinning that the surface.

A key reason the track was able to withstand the harsh central Pennsylvania climate and also surpass that life expectancy was the high high quality of the initial substrate under the track, but, again, better longevity requires a larger initial investment.

"The old saying "you get what you salary for" is quite true," admits Aten. "You"re not going to get 20 years out the a $50,000 track. What end up continue is they become long-term $50,000 nightmares every 4 to 5 years." 


Since mercury to be phased out in the so late 1980s and also early "90s, there"s been a stronger focus placed on environmentally friendly monitor surfacing products. "Some the the chemistries have changed in bespeak to remove VOCs and solvents," says Aten.

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Another an essential shift has been towards prioritizing power properties. The global Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), for example, specifies the nature of the surface in terms of variables like pressure reduction. Gasparovic notes an additional trend: "What we"ve seen, especially the last five years, there"s much more concentration in reality being put on testing surfaces. A lot more formulations have been geared towards passing this tests and also creating a softer-type surface for the athlete."

Color customization is one more track surfacing tendency not likely to go away at any time soon. Gasparovic notes that there has been a big movement towards multicolor tracks, even if it is it"s because that exchange zones, alternate lanes or just as an aesthetic enticement. "You see on the highest possible collegiate levels that these multicolor tracks room being offered as recruiting tools," says Gasparovic. "We"re seeing customization more and an ext on the collegiate level, and the one-track-fits-all simply doesn"t seem to it is in the instance anymore."


Perhaps the most encouraging trend, according to Aten, is the variety of schools that space committed to going the distance through their tracks. "People room looking under the road at investments that will last them 20 years, since it"s a burden and a cost, even if it is it"s a public school or personal school, come constantly keep these facilities," he says.

The Hempfield school District is taking a similar forward-thinking technique with the track, which begins its resurfacing this month with a target completion by July — in time for the new school year. Rather than simply do the monitor or the turf field, which was having actually seam issues, Forry opted to do every little thing at when while gift cost-conscious. "When girlfriend look in ~ the wear and tear and also you view gaps or cracks, i can"t purchased to have actually anyone tripping, falling or getting hurt follow me those lines," Forry says. "If it"s an every-20-years investment, climate it"s an every-20-years investment. We want to provide safe facilities, and also if you acquire to a point where someone does obtain injured, then clearly you"ve waited as well long."

This post originally appeared in the might 2015 worry of Athletic Business through the title "Go the Distance"