Having the right facilities in the right places is vital to attract and inspire new participants, and to provide opportunities for improvements in personal performance among more experienced athletes.
TrackMark is a UKA quality assurance scheme for track and field athletics facilities launched in 2018. A venue that achieves TrackMark status is recognised by UKA as having well managed, well maintained facilities that are accessible to participants of all abilities. UKA recognises that track and field facilities come in all shapes and sizes and TrackMark is split into six units so that venue operators can select and complete only the units that are relevant to them:
- TrackMark Unit 1 – Track guidance notes
- TrackMark Unit 2 – Field
- TrackMark Unit 3 – Ancillary guidance notes
- TrackMark Unit 4 – Operations guidance notes
- TrackMark Unit 5 – Floodlighting guidance notes
- TrackMark Unit 6 – Competition guidance notes
Construction and repair/refurbishment
Sport England has produced useful guidance on the design of facilities for athletics. However, the design of athletics track and field facilities is complex and England Athletics would always recommend the involvement of an athletics track designer who is a member of SAPCA’s Track & Field division in order to ensure that the design conforms to the detailed requirements set out in the IAAF Track and Field Facilities Manual. If you are planning a major project, we can provide a list of experienced track designers for you to select from.
The construction of new athletics facilities and the repair/refurbishment of existing ones should be carried out by an experienced contractor. Again, England Athletics would always recommend the involvement of a contractor who is a member of SAPCA’s Track & Field division and we can provide a list of contractors for you to select from. Work to track and field facilities should be carried out in accordance with the SAPCA Code of Practice for the Construction and Maintenance of Athletics Tracks, which can be accessed at sapca.org.uk/guide/codes-of-practice.
Facilities for disabled athletes
The Equality Act 2010 places a legal duty on sports clubs to make reasonable adjustments to their services to ensure that they are accessible for disabled people to use. England Athletics expects all new track and field facilities to provide anchor points for wheelchair throws competitors and recommends that this type of provision should be made in all venues.
Compact athletics facilities
England Athletics has adopted UKA’s strategic position that we should concentrate on preserving and improving the existing stock of 400m tracks rather than seeking to build additional ones. However, there are areas in the country where journey time to the nearest full size outdoor track is longer than ideal, and there are places where good coaching has created significant demand despite the lack of a local athletics facility. The compact athletics concept is intended to fill this gap, providing training facilities in places where there is insufficient demand, funding or land to accommodate a full-size track.
A compact athletics facility can take a number of forms, but essentially provides a strip of synthetic track plus some capacity for jumps and throws, enabling core athletic skills to be taught, enjoyed and developed.