Athletic running tracks for every occasion

Fits everywhere

Some interesting facts and figures about synthetic running tracks, tartan tracks and temporary athletics running tracks.

MOST of the ATHLETICS FACILITIES FOR MAJOR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS ARE BUILT IN STADIUMS, but SOMETIMES OUTSIDE AS WELL.

Athletics facilities offer suitable running tracks and sports surfaces for all the various disciplines of athletics. The core of each facility is the athletics running track. It encircles the pitch area in the stadium. In addition, there are individual facilities in the stadium for the other disciplines  – such as jumping, throwing and shot put.

Sometimes track and field facilities are built for major international competitions outside stadiums, for example in Zurich.

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Is the athletics track really 400 m long?

It is always said that the track is 400 meters long. This is correct, but it only applies to the inside lane of the track. All other lanes are longer. The outer lane is 40 to 50 meters longer than the inner lane. On lane two, the difference is almost eight meters. With a lane width of 122 cm, the lanes differ by 2 x Pi x 122 cm = 7.67 meters.

Therefore, at competitions, the athletes’ starting blocks are placed at different locations so that all runners have exactly 400 meters of track ahead of them.

However, it is not that accurate when it comes to  who starts where in every competition. In the 10,000-meter run, the runners gather for the start freely distributed on all eight lanes. After the start, they then try to quickly reach the inner lane and stay there if possible, because this results in valuable meters gained and therefore time.

Why do people actually run to the left?

It is believed that the origin of this goes back more than 200 years. In England, the first horse races were not held in stadiums, but on country roads. Because of the left-hand traffic in England, it was safer to let the horses run to the left so that they would not collide with oncoming traffic. 

When there were finally proper horse racing tracks just for sport, people kept with the habit. These tracks were also used by runners in the beginning. Because of this,  running on the left became the norm. This later on became accepted worldwide.

Athletics facilities: Type A, B and C

The construction of outdoor athletics facilities is regulated in DIN 18035-1:2003-02, Part 1 “Sports grounds; outdoor facilities for games and athletics, planning and dimensions”. Among other things, the DIN standard distinguishes between running track types A, B and C. Depending on how the facility is used, it still requires an additional World Athletics Class 1 or Class 2 certificate.

For national and international athletics competitions, a type A competition facility is required. For regional and other major sporting events, type B is sufficient. For all other facilities that are not intended for high-performance sports (for example, for school level sports), type C is sufficient.

To host national and international track and field events, a Type A facility requires World Athletics Class 2 certification. This facility has eight individual running tracks. Its length is at least 176.91 m, and its width is at least 93.08 m. The pitch in the center of the stadium must have an area of 109 x 73 m to meet the football field  standard size of 105 m × 68 m.

In addition, Type A has individual running tracks for sprinting, hurdles and steeplechase, facilities for high jump and pole vault, long jump and triple jump, discus and hammer throw, javelin throw and shot put.

In the past, the tracks were made of red ashes (or clay). The first athletics tracks made of synthetic material only came later. These are traditionally also called tartan tracks. The first synthetic running track was installed in 1968 in the Letzigrund stadium in Zurich. Conica is one of the pioneers when it comes to synthetic tracks and has equipped plenty of renowned stadiums around the world.

Weltklasse Zurich
Special running tracks for special events

Sometimes you need special running tracks and formats for special events – like for “Weltklasse Zürich”, the last global athletics highlight of the 2022 season.

Weltklasse Zürich was also the finale of the Wanda Diamond League, the most important global athletics event after the World Championships in Eugene and the European Championships in Munich. Athletes achieved the following: 4 annual world best times, 6 meeting records, 1 Diamond League record, 16 season bests and 9 personal bests. 

The finals took place both in the Letzigrund Stadium and on the Sechseläutenplatz, where in just two days, Swiss track specialist Conica had built a high jump and a pole vault module along with its record-breaking world’s longest mobile running track measuring 560m.

Conica also installed modules for the jumping competitions.

The particularly big challenge on Sechseläutenplatz was that the track had to be removed smoothly and without residue right after the event. 

Six of the 32 competitions (women’s and men’s 5,000m final, women’s pole vault and men’s high jump, women’s and men’s shot put) were moved from the stadium to downtown Zurich.

The particularly big challenge on Sechseläutenplatz was that Conica’s usual process technique – casting/pouring in place the running track surface – could not be used because the track had to be removed smoothly and without residue right after the event. 

For this reason, Conica used a spray-coated running track pre-produced on mats, which were then rolled out and fixed onto the Sechseläutenplatz pavement.  For the tight turns, specially made inclined curve ramps  based on indoor facilities were produced, which offered the athletes optimal conditions for the best competition experience in the middle of the city.

Conica has been developing and manufacturing innovative seamless flooring solutions based on polyurethane and epoxy resins for sports, games, leisure as well as other areas for over 40 years. Conica is one of the world’s market leaders and innovation drivers in this field.

Project data

Athletics running tracks

Conica AG
Industriestrasse 26
CH – 8207 Schaffhausen

Photograph

Conica AG

Author

Johannes Bühlbecker
More Sports Media
(Advertorial)

Locations

Weltklasse Zürich
Sechseläutenplatz
CH – 8001 Zürich

Stadion Letzigrund
Badenerstrasse 500
CH – 8048 Zürich

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