Athletics tracks have come a long way in the last 50 years. What once were facilities made of cinder, shale and stone are now predominantly rubberised surfaces that are laid over a concrete pavement and referred to as "all-weather", meaning they can be used in virtually any weather conditions!
However, despite their all-weather properties, like anything exposed to constant footfall and environmental conditions, tracks do not last forever. The cost of resurfacing a 400m track is significant – often running into hundreds of thousands of pounds...
The requirement for a track resurface is inevitable but the timeframe between resurfaces can be significantly reduced if a track is well-maintained by the venue and respected and looked after by its users. A factsheet produced by UK Athletics details some simple steps that can be taken by venues and users to ensure that he lifecycle of a track is maximised.
Central to UKAs TrackMark facility accreditation scheme is an assessment of the condition of athletics tracks, and crucially where they sit in in terms of their current lifecycle. TrackMark Unit 1 Track inspections are carried out by independent, world athletics accredited laboratories and over the past 4 years these inspections have proved pivotal in lobbying venue owners and operators for investment in track maintenance and major refurbishment.
How can clubs help?
From April 2023 any venues wishing to host licensed competition will need to have achieved TrackMark accreditation. Clubs can check the interactive map link on UKA's website to check the current status of their facility – if your venue is not yet fully accredited please ask the operator to contact UKA as soon as possible via TrackMark@uka.org.uk so that the TrackMark team can guide them through the accreditation process in time for next season.