Track Construction

Running Track Construction & Design

GA Sports Construction specializes in all aspects of running track construction, repair, resurfacing, and striping. With 43 years of experience in running track construction and a Certified Track Builder on staff (certified by the American Sports Builders Association), we are uniquely qualified to collaborate to build a running track facility that meets your specific vision, performance goals, and budget.

Running Track Construction & Design

The construction or re-construction of a running track requires specialized expertise to insure the facility:

  • Complies with all appropriate governing body rules and recommendations
  • Provides for safety and performance for the athlete
  • Is integrated into the overall design and projected use of the stadium, site and field
  • Employs methods of construction and choices of materials that provide the best value within the budget and life cycle expectations of the owner
Running Track Design

Running Track Design

The design phase is the first and most crucial step in constructing a running track facility. Numerous factors need to be taken into consideration.

  • Proposed use of the track and field
  • Drainage needs
  • Site size, configuration and elevations
  • Safety considerations
  • Placement of field events

Running Track Construction Process

.01 – Professional layout to ensure the length of the track is correct.
Professional layout to ensure the length of the track is correct
.02 – Dirt work and grading.
Dirt work and grading
.03 – Proper site elevations and dimensions ensure slope requirements are met and proper drainage is provided for the facility.
Proper site elevations and dimensions ensure slope requirements are met and proper drainage is provided for the facility
.04 – Construction of curbs, field events and drainage.
Construction of curbs, field events and drainage
.06 – Construction of base, which may be asphalt or concrete.
Construction of base, which may be asphalt or concrete

Running Track Standard Base

Traditionally, the standard base for a running track has been made of hot mix asphalt paving. This is because of the oval shape of the track and the lower cost of asphalt compared to concrete. When asphalt is used as the base, a soil expert is required to choose the correct cross-section of the road base and the appropriate asphalt depth to ensure stability on the existing soil. Typically, event runways are constructed using concrete.

Post Tension Concrete

GA Sports Construction is gaining popularity for creating seamless synthetic surfaces without working joints using post-tensioned concrete with sheathed cables, which is crack-resistant and perfect for running tracks.

Post-tensioned concrete is usually chosen when:

  • Soils are a concern regarding potential for cracking and heaving
  • The owner wishes to invest in a long-term value, as the concrete will last through a number of removal and replacement cycles of synthetic surfaces without replacing or repairing the underlying base
  • When synthetic turf is to be installed on the field whether at construction or at a later date, the post-tension slab eliminates the need for curbs for installation of the nailer board system

Post Tension Concrete Process

Post Tension Concrete Pour
Preparing New Track
Post Tension Preparation
Pouring Concrete for new High School running track
Post Tension Concrete Finishing
Finished Concrete Running Track

Track Striping

The markings and lines on a running track are a crucial aspect of its construction. The striping must be accurate and comply with the appropriate regulations set by the governing body responsible for your track. General Acrylics has one of the most experienced striping professionals in the country. Using an electronic robot and paying close attention to detail, they ensure the accuracy of your track striping. Professional striping can transform your running track into the centerpiece of your athletic stadium. Custom touches such as logos, shadowed numbers, lettering, and school colors can add personality and promote school spirit.

Striping Images

View Our Running Track Gallery
Planning – Design – Inspiration
View Running Track Images

Running Track FAQ

What maintenance does my running track require?

The biggest enemies of your running track are water, dirt and vegetation. It is very important to adjust sprinkler heads regularly to avoid repeated overspray of the surface which will cause staining and delamination. It is also important to make sure that surface water be allowed to drain off and is not blocked by vegetation.

Control of vegetation is also essential. Uncontrolled grass and weeds can destroy the edges of an asphalt base and cause delamination of the surface. Vegetation may also grow under the asphalt causing “weed bumps” that are not only a problem for the surface but a danger to the runners.

Cleaning the surface to remove dirt and sand is also vital to extending the life of your running track surface. Sweeping and washing the surface on a regular schedule is recommended.

When is it time to resurface my existing synthetic track surface?

It is important to monitor your synthetic surface on a regular basis to make sure that resurfacing is planned at the appropriate time to prevent expensive deterioration of the resilient layers of the surface and maintain the highest safety level possible for the athlete. General Acrylics will be happy to provide regular inspections of your surface in order to keep it in top condition and help you budget for maintenance and resurfacing.

On black synthetic surfaces it is important to look for deeply worn areas, loose rubber, structural cracking and delamination. With a colored surface the wear on the structural spray coats that allows the black to show through after several years will alert you to the need to consider re-spraying the track

The longer excessive wear is allowed to progress without the addition of new spray coats or additional layers of rubber and binder (latex surfaces) the more expensive the eventual solution will be. Loose rubber, deeply worn areas, cracks and delaminated surface are all potential safety issues. A surface that has become hard or too thin does not provide the resilience or performance characteristics for which the system was designed.

What are the options for the base construction of a running track?

Traditionally running track ovals have been constructed of hot mix asphalt paving. This was typically chosen over the concrete option due to lower initial cost of installation. Very soon asphalt begins to deteriorate and structural cracks, heaving and settling begins to appear. This often means that the track needs to be completely removed and replaced even before the synthetic surface has reached the end of its usable life.

Post –tensioned concrete provides long-term value and solutions to the problems of asphalt paving. Post-tensioning is the use of steel cables within the concrete slab that are stressed and locked into place. This provides a very crack-resistant and stable slab that will last through multiple synthetic surface applications. General Acrylics has perfected a method of installing the track oval without any working joints or saw cuts. This method of construction always provides an advantageous life-cycle cost. It is especially recommended for areas with poor soils, limited future access for reconstruction or where the priority is to provide long-term value.

Long jump, triple jump, and pole vault runways are almost always constructed of concrete. Concrete provides excellent planarity not possible in asphalt paving of this width. It is resistant to vegetation growing into the edges or under the runway.

How do I know if my track is the correct length to satisfy the 400 meter requirement?

The point at which a running track is 400 meters is an imaginary line called the “measure line”.

In lane one the placement of the measure line varies in relationship to the inside lane line based upon whether or not the track has a 2” or more raised portable or permanent inside curb.

These requirements are very specific, 20cm from the outside of the inside lane line for a flush curb and 30 cm for a raised curb. Precise measurement is imperative that is nearly impossible to obtain with a wheel. Therefore, if you want to have the length of your running track checked or a 400 meter track designed, contacting a company with a Certified Track Builder on staff such as General Acrylics or a professional engineer with experience in running track construction is advised.

I am interested in a synthetic track surface, what is the best choice?

The overwhelming majority of running track surfaces are produced on site with combinations of either latex or polyurethane binder and rubber. Your choice of surface will take into account use, performance requirements, budget, and life cycle costs. General Acrylics provides value and quality in all of their Ultra-Track (latex bound) and Spurtan/Rekortan (polyurethane bound) systems.

The latex bound synthetic surface systems are the least expensive initially making this a good choice when a limited budget is the controlling factor. This type of track has a shorter life cycle and is not as consistently resilient in all types of outdoor temperatures as compared to polyurethane - softer when hot and harder when cold. They are typically installed in a 3/8” or a ½” depth. Latex systems are most commonly black due to the cost of the material to apply in other colors.

Polyurethane based running track surfaces cover a full spectrum of systems providing longer life cycle and higher performance surfaces. The surfaces are typically 13mm (1/2”), except for the full solid pour systems, which vary in depth. The standard colors are track red and black although other colors are available at additional cost.

Spurtan BS is a porous system consisting of a paved base mat of binder and black rubber with 2 structural spray coats to provide wear and UV protection.

Spurtan BSS is the same as the Spurtan BS with the addition of a coat of solid-pour polyurethane between the base mat and the structural spray coats making the surface non-porous. This means that dirt, water and sand will remain on the top where it can be easily removed providing a longer lasting surface and lower maintenance costs.

The solid-pour line of surfaces are non-porous, are more durable, require resurfacing at less frequent intervals and provide the highest performance level.

Spurtan BV is a “sandwich” system with the paved base mat covered by top layer of solid-pour polyurethane and rubber.

Rekortan track surfaces are full depth solid-pour polyurethane with a choice of high performance characteristics and finishes.

Let's Talk
Please contact the professionals at GA Sports Construction with any questions you may have, and to schedule a free no-obligation site visit.