If you are in charge of the running track at a school, college, or sports facility, keeping the track up to date is, of course, one of your top priorities. Depending on the installation’s original quality and prior maintenance standards, a running track can easily last for 20 to 30 years.
However, in order to keep a running track at an excellent standard for decades, the caretakers must be able to detect signs of damage early on and take the necessary steps to repair them. On that note, let’s get to know the common signs of a running track in need of repair.
Most of us have seen those small lumpy grains on synthetic running tracks but, unfortunately, not everyone recognizes them as an early sign of track damage. While an occasional, small granule or two might not be cause for immediate alarm, they are not to be ignored either. Soon enough, those granules will grow in size and number, making them impossible to ignore down the line.
Grains or granules are reliable indicators of track damage caused by excessive strain. Now, the point to note here is that the grains may not always appear exclusively near the original damage site. With a bit of close inspection, you will still be able to track them back to the damaged portion of the running track. If it’s caused by a mound on the track’s surface, then the granule will appear directly on top of the mound. We will discuss the mounds later in this post.
If you can clearly see a crack on the track, the signs of damage do not get more obvious than that. In fact, granules on the synthetic turf can often be traced back to unforeseen cracks under the turf. It should go without saying that the actual track beneath the synthetic turf must be checked regularly for cracks, irrespective of whether there are grains visible on top or not. Contact professionals for running track crack repair and reconstruction immediately upon discovery.
Not all tracks are built equal, so it’s only natural that some will have better drainage while other tracks will simply make do. If the running track under your charge was not built with optimal drainage in design, that in itself should be a cause for concern but it is not a sign of damage or depreciation. On the other hand, if you suspect that one of the running tracks is not draining as well as it used to, it must be investigated further to confirm the suspicion.
Significant depreciation in a running field’s drainage standards, as compared to what you were used to seeing indicates base damage. Unfortunately, base damage is the worst kind of damage that any track can suffer from. It means that the entire construction underneath the track surface is falling apart.
Call professionals to have it checked out, and if they come to the same conclusion, repairs may no longer be an option. If a running track’s base is coming apart, it will probably need to be reconstructed. All tracks will have at least two base layers in addition to the surface layer. The cost of your track reconstruction in such instances will vary, depending on how many or which layer of the base is damaged.
Small Mounds on the Track Surface
Not to be confused with turf grains, mounds can appear on the track’s surface itself. However, granules on the turf can certainly be indicative of mounds just beneath it. If the mounds are localized, then the repair job should be easy and quick. It’s most likely a result of the surface being subjected to too much strain.
On the other hand, if the mounds are also accompanied by depressions throughout a large portion of the running track, it’s a telltale sign of delamination. Delamination occurs when a track’s surface layer starts to detach from the base layer immediately below it.
Track and field construction professionals will need to inspect the damage to inform you about your options for repair. It is quite likely that the entire surface layer will need to be reconstructed after a delamination. Provided that there is no significant base damage to accompany the delamination, renovation should not be as expensive as a multilayer base reconstruction.
Don’t ignore complaints from the ground staff or the students/athletes who use the running tracks. If the actual people who are using the track are finding it to be problematic for some reason, it’s always a sign that you should investigate further.