Athletics tracks: Which is right for you?

We’re specialists in athletics track construction, with installations ranging in size, track system, colour and budget.

We’ve installed numerous tracks since starting out in business – from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, to schools and colleges (such as Stowe School and University of Birmingham) across the UK.

When considering installing an athletics track, one question we are most frequently asked is: What is the difference?

For the professionals

For those looking for a track suitable for professional training and competing at a high intensity usage, a pre-fabricated, solid or sandwich track provides a durable, absorbent surface. Each of these tracks are non-porous surfaces, allowing water to be removed by slope and gravitational flow to a surface drain system.

Each non-porous track type has a range of advantages dependent on your requirements and budgets.

Pre-fabricated track

Materials: Pre-fabricated tracks are made with a layer of vulcanised rubber and latex. While a more expensive solution long-term, they provide outstanding performance characteristics, are hard wearing and require less maintenance and repairs.

Usage: Designed for all levels of training and competing and high intensity. Pre-fabricated tracks are the preferred surface for major track and field championships, including the Olympics.

Cost: More expensive than porous, sandwich or solid systems, but require less maintenance and repairs long-term.

Solid track

Materials: Solid tracks are made of specially formulated ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber granules, with a double polyurethane top coat.

Usage: Designed for high level competition and high intensity usage. Solid tracks have a harder surface consistency, typically preferred by elite level athletes.

Cost: More expensive than porous or sandwich systems however is a more durable surface that requires less maintenance.

Sandwich track

Materials: Sandwich tracks are ‘hybrid’ systems, compromised of a rubber granule base, and EPDM layer and sealed with a polyurethane top coat.

Usage: Designed for use at an elite level, suitable for international athletics.

Cost: A lower cost non-porous track option. The EPDM layer can be retexturized numerous times, saving cost in the long-term.

For schools and communities…

When looking for an athletic track suitable for low-level competition and training, such as that in athletics clubs, colleges and schools, porous tracks are the most popular option.  Surfaces are designed so that water will flow through the surface to the underlying sub-base, allowing moisture to filter through. Most athletics tracks will incorporate a porous aggregate sub-base and drainage system.

Porous tracks

Materials: Made with a robust rubber granule base and a polyurethane top-coat, creating a stable and supportive surface.

Usage: Designed for low-level competition and training and most regularly used across athletic clubs, colleges and schools.

Cost: Economical, cost effective option for low-level training and competing.

To find out more about which professional track surface is right for your facility, get in touch or call 01491 827810.