Running track maintenance and cleaning will be a hot topic in the track & field area for months and years to come. COVID-19 has emphasized the importance of keeping our common fitness areas clean and sanitized. 

I drive by the running track at Franklin & Marshall College on my way to work every day. Abacus installed that track in 2013, and I’ve always found it neat to be able to drive by one of our installations on my way here. 

This morning I noticed just how many people were running on that track. It was the first time in a long time I had seen that many people running on it, especially at 7:30 in the morning. People are going to come back to fitness areas as stay-at-home orders are lifted. For a number of reasons, people are exercising more right now and trying to stay in shape during quarantine and social distancing. 

Installing and maintaining running tracks was a main focus of Abacus’ when we got our start back in 1991. We’ve added new sports flooring products, athletic facilities, and other installations to our repertoire since then, but running track construction has been one of our company cornerstones from the very beginning. 

Why Running Track Maintenance is Important:

To start, a running track is never only used by one track & field team and no one else. It’s an essential tool for all sports and athletic disciplines.

Regular people like me use it to jog and stay in shape. Athletes from all different kinds of sports use it for conditioning and training. A track is such a dynamic part of any athletic program, and its quality has the ability to greatly impact the success or failure of that program.

When you invest in something large, you want it to last a long time, right? This is especially true for a large athletic installation like a running track.

It’s simple: a well cared-for synthetic track is able to last for many years. A track that lasts puts less financial pressure on schools and clubs. Maximum cushioning and slip reduction protect athletes who run on properly cared-for tracks. Hygiene is also critical. Tracks that are properly cleaned create a healthier environment for all who use them. This is especially true in the age of COVID-19.

We’d like to share our running track maintenance expertise with you. Here’s a four-step guide to cleaning and maintaining tracks: 

Step 1: Check Your Track Regularly

Check your track in regular intervals, maybe even every day, for dirt and damage. A track will certainly accumulate dirt, mud, and grime over the course of a day of heavy usage. Checking regularly will give you an idea of how much daily grime build-up you have to take care of on your track.

How often you check your track is also affected by the time of year. People will tend to use the track more in the warmer months (trends show that people search for “running tracks near me” more in the spring and summer), which will put more stress and debris on the running track surface itself. Your patrons aren’t the only reason you’ll have to check; falling leaves in the autumn, pollen in the spring and summer, and snow and ice in the winter will all be things to look for on an outdoor running track. 

Mowed grass from nearby fields, fallen tree branches, and sand from long jump pits will also find their way onto your track from time to time. Discovering dirt and debris like this will always be the first step in your maintenance routine. 

Step 2: Basic Sweeping and Debris Removal

Removing debris is the next priority in your routine. A simple sweeping will keep your track in good shape for the most part. The removal of slip-causing materials such as sand, ice, or mowed grass creates a safer space for all who run on your track. 

Don’t use cleaning materials with tough steel bristles or anything that could damage your track. Softer bristles will work fine and get rid of a lot of debris for you. A leaf blower also works extremely well at removing objects from your track without risk of damage. You also must periodically remove weed growth from the perimeter of your track. These weeds will overgrow quickly and end up being a slipping risk on your track if they are left unchecked.

Further track inspection may be performed during this step as you sweep your track. Look for larger issues in the track such as cracks, wear, or debris that stubbornly won’t go away with sweeping. These issues will be resolved by following the next few steps in this guide. 

Step 3: Intensive Running Track Cleaning

Washing and cleansing the track surface is a more intense cleaning measure. Stubborn dirt particles, moss, and algae will all remain present on your track if you simply sweep and don’t follow this step. Washing removes these slip hazards and creates a safer track overall. 

Hose down the track and move contaminants to the edge and off the track entirely. Lightly spray the track to avoid damage and much of your stubborn grime will disappear. This should be done routinely and specifically after large events where the track experiences a high amount of foot traffic. Don’t use anything with high water pressure that could damage your track. 

Step 4: Running Track Repair & Resurfacing

A running track at Lancaster Mennonite High School being repaired by three sports flooring installers.
Running track repair at Lancaster Mennonite High School.

Most of all it is important to be proactive when it comes to track maintenance.  If you see a small  issue do not allow it to become a big issue. It’s easy to repair small cracks but they should be quickly taken care of before they expand.

There comes a time in every track’s life when it must be restored and resurfaced. Running track installation specialists are able to diagnose whether a track needs resurfacing and repair. Abacus Sports offers running track restoration as an alternative to installing an entirely new track. This cuts down on costs and gives you a brand new surface for your athletes to train on for years to come.

Conclusion: Take Care of Your Running Track

Your track is meant to stand up to the foot traffic, weather, and debris that the world throws at it. Abacus installs Regupol running tracks. For more information on the specific types of tracks we install, click this link. Regupol also offers warranties on its tracks to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

For more information on running track maintenance, repair, or installation, contact us here. You can also send an email to install@abacussports.com or call 717-560-8050 to reach us. Our hours are still normal (8am-5pm Monday-Friday) during COVID-19 and our track specialists will help you with whatever you need. 

Respect your track and treat it with kindness. If you take care of your running track, your running track will take care of you.