Running tracks have life cycles. They’re not meant to last forever. If you think about most running tracks, they’re found at schools where a variety of people use them. For instance, a typical high school running track gets used by high school athletes, physical education classes, community sports participants, and, in many cases, as a place to stage school and community events. The track becomes a versatile public space.
Rule of Thumb
So how long should a track last? If it has been in place for more than 20 years, it might be time to consider getting a new one installed– or at least making some upgrades/repairs. Over time, weather and use wear a track down. In certain spots, such as where the starting line is located and/or where people do a lot of jumping, the track will wear down faster than in other less trafficked areas.
Things to Look For
When you’re deciding whether or not to replace your running track there are certain things to look for… if you see delamination, cracks, or areas where the surface doesn’t seem to be connected to the substrate any more, then it’s probably time to replace the whole thing. Now if the colors and/or lines have faded, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the track. If anything, replacing the track has more to do with how its surface is performing versus just how it “looks” aesthetically. You could have a worn and faded track that is still “up to par” for the runners who use it, functionally-speaking. And that’s great! If the running track surface is still good, even at its edges, then keep it and enjoy it a couple more years.
Your track might need replacing, though, if it hasn’t been well-maintained over the years, or if it has been abused. For example, some people think nothing of driving heavy vehicles over tracks, often… but that’s not a good thing. Some people wear spiked shoes on the track that weren’t meant for it, putting holes in it and/or ripping it. Again, not cool. The lifespan of a track decreases the more it is used and abused.
With running tracks you get what you pay for, so the more you spend, expect it to last longer. These days the tracks installed are better than the ones from years ago. Strides have been made in creating more environmentally-friendly track surfacing products since the 1980s and 90s. Nowadays you can get stronger-yet-softer tracks. And they’re available in multiple color tracks which help enhance their aesthetic appeal.
Are you wondering if it’s time to replace your running track? Or are you thinking of building a brand new one in a place that’s never had a track before? If so, please call Classic Turf Company at 800-246-7951 for more information.