McArdle build prestigious athletics track used by Olympic teams for IAAF World Championships pre-training.

McArdle Sport Tec were thrilled to be chosen by the University of Birmingham after a competitive tendering process to build a prestigious athletics track. Built to international training standard, the porous Stobitan track has been finished in a stunning deep red. The eight lane athletics track includes, floodlighting, throwing and jump facilities with a 7000m² natural grass in-field.

The University, currently ranked in the top ten for sport in the UK; pride themselves on nurturing and encouraging talented new athletes to study at the campus. One such pupil is Sarah McDonald currently representing Team GB in the 1,500m at the World Athletics Championships, in London. The high-quality sporting facilities attracts renowned worldwide Olympic teams as the facility of choice for training practice before major competitions.

Director of Sport at the University, Zena Wooldridge OBE commented:

“We’re very fortunate to have such a superb new athletics track on a magnificent leafy site. Athletics is a key sport for the University of Birmingham and it will make a huge difference to our athletes’ training to have such a fantastic track so close to the main campus.

I hope our student athletes and the young athletes from BRATS and local schools will be inspired by the new track and its Jamaican inauguration, and we look forward to seeing more of our own stars of the future training here.”

The athletics track was constructed on overgrown woodland leased from the Schools of King Edward V. Situated on the edge of the campus, the new facilities will be home to not only the University but King Edwards School, King Edwards VI high school for girls; and other local athletics clubs.

Simon Hedges Contracts Manager for this project commented:

“A considerable amount of work was undertaken to clear the site and to level the earthworks. However, it was a fantastic opportunity to be involved with this project, as athletics tracks especially to this standard and specification are rarely constructed in the UK. Our team worked extremely hard to ensure that the tracks were completed on time to ensure that a well-known Olympic athletics team could train on site prior to the IAAF World Championships took place in London. We are extremely honoured to be involved in this construction.”

“We are delighted to have been able to support the University in the development of this impressive new facility. Not only will our own pupils benefit from the use of the track for games lessons, fixtures and sports day, but through our extensive outreach programme it will also give primary school children across the region the opportunity to train on the same site as Olympic athletes.”

Dr Mark Fenton, Chief Master of King Edward’s School.


We offer a comprehensive service from conception and planning through to design and construction.

McArdle Sport Tec are in the starting blocks at the University of Birmingham

8-Lane Athletics Track Installation

After submitting a detailed design and tender for the installation of a new athletics track at University of Birmingham, McArdle Sport Tec Ltd were thrilled to have been awarded the project contract. The large scale project for the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston Park Road is sure to attract many users from the university and King Edward’s School which is situated opposite the University site. The new facility includes an 8-lane athletics track with a natural turf infield and a state-of-the-art LED floodlighting system, as well as field areas for steeple chase, high jump, long jump, javelin, hammer and discus.

After an initial site clearance, the major works are expected to start imminently with the IAAF accredited track surface and associated facilities to be completed in the summer. The extensive project involves the removal and re-use of a vast expanse of top soil,  design and installation of complex drainage systems, the installation of a stone sub-base and a macadam base, installation of the polymeric running surface, line marking in accordance with UK athletics, timber crib wall construction, planting and much more.

The synthetic track surfacing will be a ‘sandwich’ system, formed of a base layer of resin bound black SBR rubber crumb and a top layer of solid red polyurethane resin with partially embedded red EPDM rubber crumb forming the surface texture. Paved areas are to be erected for judges stands on the inside and outside of the track circuit, at the finish line on the main straight.

Athletics track installation specialists McArdle Sport Tec have previously installed athletics tracks and facilities throughout the UK including, but not limited to, The Manchester Commonwealth Games stadium track, The Aberdeen Sports Village, Stowe School, King George V Playing Fields in Swansea, Tavistock College, and are currently mid-way though the construction of a new track  at the National Indoor Athletics Centre located at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

athletics track installation

Athletics Track Construction – Types of Track

Porous vs Sandwich Systems

We are proud to be specialists when it comes to athletics track construction. We have installed many tracks, from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games track to numerous tracks in schools and colleges which range in size, track system, colour and budget. The most commonly installed types of athletics track systems installed in the UK are porous and sandwich. A question we are frequently asked is, “What is the difference?”

Porous tracks are designed to allow water to filter through the track, essentially, they consist of a rubber binder base mat and a top layer.
The base layer consists of SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) granules which are mixed with a binder and laid in-situ. The top layer consists of smaller EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber granules, which are mixed on-site with a PU resin binder. This is sprayed on top of the base mat layer.

Porous systems are:
• Designed to allow water to drain through the track, therefore no additional track drainage system is required.

• Tend to be the most cost effective track system to install; an ideal choice for athletics clubs, universities, colleges and schools.
• Can be made in a variety of colours; a sealing layer may be required to stop colour fade.

Sandwich track systems are essentially designed to stop the water draining through. Like a porous system, sandwich tracks have a rubber base mat layer at the bottom and top layer. In-between these is the “sandwich layer” made from a polyurethane compound which is non-porous, it creates a barrier to stop water from seeping from the top layer to the base layer.

Sandwich systems:
• Offer improved shock-absorption performance to the porous system.
• Offer a greater lifespan than porous systems as the EPDM cast be retextured numerous times.
• Can also be made in a variety of colours.
• Are more suited for national and regional athletic competitions.

Cardiff Met Uni Continue to Work with Sports Surface Specialists McArdle Sport Tec

After the successful installation of a FIFA accredited pitch at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Cyncoed Campus in 2014, McArdle Sport Tec have been chosen to work with Cardiff Met Uni once again.

The latest project at the Cyncoed Campus involves the construction of a 400 metre, six-lane athletics track with a 3G rugby pitch in the middle and an athletics development facility. The team began on site in October and will be working through to June 2017.

The polymeric track will be built to meet IAAF standards and the athletics development facility will include designated areas for javelin, shot put, discus, pole vault and long jump.

To meet the specification required for FIFA and World Rugby Pitches, McArdle’s will be installing TigerTurf’s innovative “Rugby 360” surface system upon an in-site shockpad. This brand-new artificial turf product is a quality rugby-specific surface, perfect for rugby union and rugby league itches. The third-generation surface is made using durable XWR yarn and will meet the newly revised requirements of World Rugby Regulation 22 and FIFA performance standards.