Your Guide to the Perfect Athletics Track

Outdoor running tracks are important to encourage outdoor exercise this summer for children and adults of all ages! The perfect athletics track should have minimal maintenance requirements and running track surface materials that are safe and durable to provide the best quality outdoor exercise experience for everyone.
Athletics tracks are a unique element of playground design for outdoor flooring exerts, requiring innovations and specific requirements across its lifespan. PlaySmart’s playground flooring installation experts are able to provide our clients peace of mind that their outdoor running tracks are the best quality possible.

running track in field
What qualities does an Athletics track need to have?

As a long, thin surface subject to heavy footfall traffic often among mixed playground surface types, outdoor running tracks require special attention throughout installation and design. PlaySmart’s experts recognise and meet these challenges head-on to minimise the problems with artificial grass boundaries, fading markings, and non-slip, non-accessible surfacing with our amazing breadth of surface options.

Ergonomic soft impact surface

Rubberized surfaces are increasingly popular as a choice for outdoor running tracks. Cushioning and shock absorption reduce harm to runners’ joints that can come from repeated use of improper outdoor flooring. As the summer approaches and more people get out onto the athletics track, ensuring that they remain safe and uninjured is the responsibility of the playground design process.

Traditional asphalt or concrete surfaces can be most damaging for long-distance runners or amateur runners in regular trainers rather than professional ergonomic shoes. By providing a high-quality shock absorbent outdoor running track, you are improving accessibility to outdoor exercise in your local community and keeping them healthy and on their way to beat their personal bests on your athletics track!

Anti-Slip Traction

In the British Summer’s traditional rain, your running track should still be able to provide some relief from slipping and sliding to reduce the risk of accidents. Running track surface materials, like outdoor sport court materials, should provide adequate traction while not being too rough to cause grazing when falls do occur.

Rubber mulch or similar rubber athletics surfaces is a great option for slip-resistance due to the unique bonded formulation of the sports surface material, and also reduces noise pollution from heavy footfall, leading to its popularity as play area surfacing.

Red rubber mulch pathway
Durability in colour and quality

Long-term use of running tracks should not reduce their effectiveness and safety. A high-quality athletics track should demonstrate resilience to multiple aspects of weathering that outdoor flooring can face.

Wear and tear over time can target vulnerabilities in the surface, creating cracks and eroding the edges, creating harmful tripping hazards and rounding of the track itself, reducing the safety of runners. Outdoor flooring should be tested through exposure to sunlight rays, weathering impacts, and heavy use to ensure it remains useful and up to standard.

UV resistance coatings or bindings of the running track surface material itself can help boost sun protection that can exacerbate other forms of weathering over time and even protects the vibrancy of the surface colour and any running track markings.

Maintenance costs should be low to keep a running track in good condition. Cleaning is a simple process, especially for porous surfaces which reduces pudding when washed or in the event of rainfall. Repairs and resurfacing should be minimal with quality installations and materials in line with PlaySmart’s ‘No Quibble Guarantee’ process for expert surface supply and installation.

Surrounding surface materials

Heavy-use athletics tracks in public areas that can have limited time for upkeep can see damage and balding of the grass surrounding the track. This makes the site look less appealing and can pose a greater risk of slipping in muddy conditions. Therefore, hybrid grass or other AstroTurf-like options are a good way to keep your surrounding surfaces looking healthy and full.

One of the commonly cited problems with artificial grass is the texture which is uncomfortable to fall onto and can cause grass burns. Our high-quality plastic fibres incorporating and promoting natural grass growth alongside the artificial grass help to reduce this issue while keeping the sides of your track green year-round and reducing erosion and wear and tear.

Which Surfaces do we Recommend for Your Athletics Track?

Rubber Mulch like Jungle Mulch or EPDM Mulch is a porous, durable running track surface material perfect for longer tracks on natural grass due to its simple installation and low cost. Available in many bright colours and designs, you can personalise your running track however you want, with vibrant sports markings that last built into the bonded rubber mulch material.

Corkeen is an innovative sustainable flooring option supplied exclusively in the UK by PlaySmart. Perfect for jogging or walking paths, the two-layer system has built-in wear resistance and shock absorption in its design. This is also one of our most stable and wheelchair-accessible flooring options that we recommend for wider pathways and play surfaces.

If you are looking to expand your outdoor sports area beyond a quality athletics track, FlexCourt is perfect for a modular and flexible sports surface wherever you are. Create the perfect sports ground in your new playground project or next renovation to exceed the quality and safety of other options on the market and make your site your community’s hub for fitness and sport this summer! For more information on FlexCourt including its structure, uses, and installation, you can visit our Expert Guide

Ready to make the Perfect Athletics Track your next Playground Project?

Our experts can recommend you the perfect option for your Athletics Track or sports area matched to your needs. Each site is unique so PlaySmart works to provide tailored services and installation plans to meet the challenges, hazards, requirements, and restrictions of any playground or sports area site.

Get started on your journey with PlaySmart by filling in our handy contact form at the top of this page, or give us a call at 01564 742811.

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