March sees the UK wide rollout of UK Athletics’ new quality assurance scheme for outdoor track and field facilities – TrackMark.
TrackMark has been introduced to raise and maintain standards of athletics facility provision and provide a safe, enjoyable experience for all users.
England’s stock of athletics tracks is ageing with many facilities now approaching their 30th birthday and a key component of TrackMark is providing venue operators with a professional assessment of their track and field facilities alongside a time phased action plan designed to achieve and maintain the minimum facility and equipment standards required by the sport’s governing body.
UKA’s Facilities Manager, Michael Hunt, believes that this will have a positive impact for clubs during their discussions with facility operators about essential maintenance and improvement work at their home track.
Michael explained: “I speak to club representatives on a daily basis, and one of the big challenges that they face is in persuading operators to invest in facility repairs, maintenance and replacement. TrackMark aims to support clubs in these discussions by providing professional condition surveys and recommendations that encourage informed decision making and allow for medium to long term maintenance and financial planning as opposed to short term “sticking plasters”.
Michael added that the early signs are encouraging, “We launched TrackMark to Licence Level 2 competition venues in October last year and many venue operators have already commissioned TrackMark consultants to undertake the mandatory track and field inspections. Where facilities haven’t met minimum standards the assessment reports provide remedial action plans that help them to plan out and resource important maintenance and refurbishment work.”
“This has already having a positive impact and the track facilities at Brickfields (Plymouth) and Kings Park (Bournemouth) where both operators are looking at major track refurbishments following the recommendations of TrackMark track surface inspections at their respective venues.”
Michael updated on the timescales for Trackmark and sought to provide reassurance to venues, clubs and competition providers, “It is true that over the past six months a number of clubs and operators have expressed concerns about completing work done in time for the competition season. However, we are pragmatic about this and wherever possible, we will work with the venue and resident club to agree interim arrangements that will provide more time in which to plan and resource any remedial work required.”
“As the governing body for the sport of athletics we will continue do all that we can to protect existing facilities and maintain them at a standard where people of all ages and abilities can enjoy them”.
TrackMark FAQs document now available
A document providing more details about the track mark scheme is now available. This can be downloaded from the facilities section of the UKA website at www.uka.org.uk/governance/facilities/, or the TrackMark FAQs document (PDF – 155kB) can be downloaded by clicking here.
(See below for more about information included in the document about TrackMark including key dates around the implementation of TrackMark for tracks to be certified for competition.)
Clubs may also find the following information useful:
- TrackMark Overview Presentation
- TrackMark Overview
- 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
- Competition licensing – Information about licensing for competitions
- UKA Facilities information – Facilities section of the UKA website
- UKA Health & Safety information – Health & safety section of the UKA website
Track certification for competition
- From April 2019 – Licence Level 2 competitions: For clubs/competition providers organising Level 2 competitions the intended host venue should have achieved OR be committed to working towards TrackMark accreditation for the 2019 outdoor season†. In the first instance the competition provider should apply for the Level 2 Licence as usual and if there are any issues with the venue then these will be fed back to the applicant by UKAs Domestic Competitions Manager.
Level 2 competitions include Area Championships, BUCS Championships, BMC Elite & Grand Prix, Celtic Cup, Home countries Championships, UK CAU Championships, Home Country Age Group Championships, LEAP, Loughborough Match, National School Championships, Schools International, UK School Games, Celtic International.)
- From April 2020 – Licence Level 1 competitions: For clubs/competition providers organising Level 1 competitions the intended host venue should have achieved OR be committed to working towards TrackMark accreditation for the 2020 outdoor season†.
Level 1 competitions include Open Meetings, Local, County and Area Leagues, Trophy Meetings, County Championships, BMC Academy & Regional Events, Youth Development League, Inter County Individual & CE Meetings
IMPORTANT: For 2019 there is NO REQUIREMENT for level 1 competition venues to have achieved or be working towards TrackMark accreditation.
- From 2021 – venues that actively choose not to pursue TrackMark accreditation will not be eligible to apply for a competition licence at any level.
† “Working towards” status denotes that he venue has provided UKA with a firm commitment and evidence that they are actively working towards the achievement of TrackMark accreditation in the relevant financial year.
Information in the FAQs document
This includes that:
- A key function of the Unit 1 (Track) and Unit 2 (Field) inspections is to provide venue operators with an “early warning system” that will encourage short, medium and long-term investment to ensure that track and field facilities will not decline to a point of no return over the coming years.
- Facility and equipment inspections utilise a Green, Amber and Red rating system and, in most cases, we would expect venues to fall within the green and amber rating scale which is acceptable for TrackMark accreditation purposes. (Note: Any amber rated areas will need to be addressed prior to re-accreditation).
- 90% of Athletics venue operators are employers and therefore have a legal obligation to health & safety under the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974). This act requires them to do what is reasonably practicable to ensure health and safety of not only employees but also to protect all users of the facility (e.g. volunteer staff like coaches, club members, visiting teams and spectators) from risks to their health and safety arising out of, or in connection with, their activities.
- Whilst the achievement of TrackMark status is not mandatory for track and field training UKA recommends that all venues seek accreditation to demonstrate to all users that the facility and its equipment have achieved the minimum standards required by the governing body.
- In addition, in the event of a serious accident/incident the achievement of TrackMark status makes it much easier for an operator to demonstrate that minimum safety standards have been met and therefore improve their ability to defend any litigation claims.