Guide to Reducing Athletics Track Maintenance Requirements

PlaySmart introduces you to athletics track maintenance for a range of different types and materials. From dealing with water damage to upkeeping track markings, we provide advice and installation guarantees for the best Athletics Track that will last.

What running track surface materials need to provide:

  • Firm, shock-absorbent flooring
  • Good drainage
  • Even ground
  • No trip edges

For a complete guide visit our handy article with more information on ergonomic running tracks, material choice, and more.

Grass Athletics Track Maintenance
Green artificial grass with white lines

Natural grass tracks are incredibly difficult to maintain, requiring regular mowing and repainting of track lines. Even if looked after well, they can become unusable, slippery, and muddy with even the slightest adverse weather conditions. Creating the ideal athletics track surface that blends in with the surrounding playfield is a great choice for a cohesive play and sports area. However, the maintenance requirements shouldn’t get in the way of runners from using the surface.

hybrid or artificial grass track can help extend the lifespan of your grass athletics track. Additionally, this can also help to minimise the upkeep requirements.

Artificial grass tracks can be installed with minimal disruption to the surrounding surfaces. This surface ultimately creates a minimal maintenance surface that goes above and beyond the usefulness of natural grass. However, most importantly, artificial grass does not requiring any mowing and weed-resistant membranes remove issues of weed growth. Also, shock-absorbent underlays can create a great soft surface for ergonomic running tracks while reducing damage to the ground that can cause subsidence to unreinforced natural grass tracks.

Hybrid grass combines artificial and real grass fibres for a unique natural feeling texture. Hybrid grass creates a stable grass surface without the mud and patchiness of a natural track. However, it does still require some mowing and upkeep due to the natural grass elements.

Rubber Mulch Maintenance
Closeup of Rubber Mulch Track and the same track from a distance. Half red and half black length-ways rubber design

Shock absorbent track materials like rubber mulch provide an amazing ergonomic surface. This encourages users to run on the tracks for longer without harm to the runner. Rubber mulch requires minimal maintenance. Because of its drainage capacity and the weed-resistant membranes, rubber mulch only requires occasional low-pressure washing and sweeping.

Depending on your choice of rubber mulch there may be different types of wear-and-tear over time. For example, recycled rubber can produce carbon black residue. Over time this fades the colour of the surface and creates particulates that can stain clothes and shoes. However, you can deal with this through more regular washing and sweeping later into the pathway’s lifecycle.

To maintain a vibrant and clean running track or rubber pathway, EPDM rubber may be preferable. We often use this material for fall protection pads in heavy traffic areas. This is because the virgin rubber option has greater shock absorbent capacity than alternative rubbers. Additionally, it also has fewer maintenance requirements without the risk of carbon black residue.

Outdoor Running and Athletic Track Markings
Colourful hand and line markings on a Daily Mile track

Daily Mile Tracks are popular for schools to encourage children to enjoy exercise. We recommend a fun element using instructional track markings designating certain sections for running, walking, or even skipping. This is a great feature to encourage all kinds of activity for a child’s running track.

Traditional painted track markings are prone to rubbing off and disappearing with use. This can make the track look worn down and old. Inbuilt track markings that last as long as the surface itself are ideal for heavily-used tracks, such as Daily Mile or Golden Mile tracks.

EPDM rubber surfacing for mulch tracks can be used to create long-lasting and vibrant patterns. Therefore, the material can be made to suit any style of track, from fun to professional! With a higher tensile strength and fully coloured granules that won’t fade, EPDM is the perfect running track material. Especially for Daily Mile soft surfaces for your school field or public leisure area.

Avoiding Trip Edges for Safe Running

With overuse and limited athletics track maintenance, the sides of tracks may begin to rise or subside into muddy soil. Subsequently, this creates accessibility issues and safety hazards for path users. Installation with a professional method that takes these issues into account is important for creating a running track with longevity.

Embedded surface sides and ramps make a pathway or track accessible to wheelchairs and cyclists. However, they also work to reinforce the edges of the track material. This therefore, prevents damage from spread toward the centre of the track over time as cracks appear.

PlaySmart’s installation team has a unique approach to athletics tracks and sports surfaces. We design tracks to meet your requirements, while also matching the context of your surrounding surfaces. Raised, ramped, or seamlessly embedded sides of your track are available to suit the specifics and purpose of each installation. Therefore avoiding difficult upkeep and repairs to the bare edges of your track which can appear later in the lifespan.

Find your Perfect Material for Less Athletics Track Maintenance with PlaySmart

PlaySmart provides a range of materials, colours, patterns, and styles to suit any running track, cycle path, or walkway. Discover your options by getting in touch with our team or requesting your Free Quick Quote on our contact page.

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