Running Track FAQ

Many people contemplating the installation of a running track have lots of questions.

Assembled here is a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding this process.

If you don’t find your answer here, however, please contact us for information specific to your project. Our goal is to build you the very best running track facility available.


I just measured my track and it is not 400 meters. What should I do?
First, it is important to understand where a track is 400 meters long and how that is determined. A track is 400 meters at an imaginary line called a “measure line” that is located in lane one. Its location in relationship to the inside lane line varies depending on whether or not the track has an inside raised curb.

It is virtually impossible to determine if your track is 400 meters long by using a wheel. If you are concerned that your track may not be correct, it is recommended that you contact a running track company such as Renner Sports Surfaces with a Certified Track Builder on staff, or an engineer familiar with the rules of track. If you wish to do the measuring and calculations yourself, the American Sports Builders Association has a guideline for this in their Track Construction Manual.

There are still tracks in the United States that have never been converted from the old 440 yard to a 400 meter track. Once it is determined that your track is too long, the usual method of correcting the problem is to use asphalt or concrete pavement on the inside of one end of the track one half of the distance that the straightaway needs to be shortened.
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We have an old cinder track. What will it take to make it all weather?
It is important that your cinder track be evaluated to determine the current size, drainage, suitability of soils, and if the track is level on the site. If the size of the track needs to be corrected, it is often more cost effective to remove old curbs rather than try and work around them. A 440 yard track most likely has curbs that are level and a 400 meter track needs a lateral slope. A soils report is needed to determine the usability of the existing cinder material for base, as well as sub-surface conditions and recommendations for base and asphalt.
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What are the different kinds of track surfacing and how do I choose?
There are two classes of binder material used to produce typical seamless, produced in-situ track surfaces: latex and polyurethane. Renner Sports Surfaces uses only premium quality materials in all of their installations. Your choice will depend on budget, proposed use, and personal preference.

A standard latex surface is porous, may be 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick and is available in black or a sandwich system, which may be colored. The advantage of a latex system is the initial cost – it enables many schools with limited budgets to have a synthetic surface on their track. One disadvantage to latex is the fact that it is harder when the weather is cold and softer when it is hot, thus affecting comfort and performance for the athlete. Another drawback to latex is that the track may bubble when resurfaced. The black latex surface is our RSS 100 system and the colored sandwich surface is our RSS 200 system. Color on the second system significantly increases the expense due to the cost differential between black and colored rubber and the amount needed to produce this system.

Polyurethane binder produces a more durable, higher performance surface. The standard color for these surfaces is red although they are also available in black and other colors at varying prices. The basic polyurethane surface is a basemat/structural spray system (RSS 2000). This is a porous surface that will provide years of service and performance and is easily resurfaced with a new structural spray (usually in about 8 to 10 years). RSS 3000 is a sealed basemat/structural spray, which adds a thin coat of solid-pour polyurethane between the layers to render the surface nearly impermeable. This means water, dirt, and sand will stay on the surface, resulting in less maintenance and longer life.

If you are looking for a high performance, very long lasting surface, we would suggest either an RSS 4000 sandwich polyurethane system or an RSS 5000 solid-pour surface. The difference between these two systems is that the lower layer of the RSS 4000 is a paved basemat with only the upper layer being solid-pour polyurethane.
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What is the depth of asphalt and base I should use for my track base?
Although this is one of the most frequently asked questions, there is no standard answer. A soils evaluation is recommended for this part of the project. It is important that the soils engineer be familiar with this type of application, as the asphalt needs to be installed primarily to hold planarity as opposed to load bearing.
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How do I maintain my track?
The main enemies of your track facility are dirt, water, and vegetation. It is important to clean the surface with blowers and wash it with water, either in the form of a power washer at low power or with a water broom.

Make sure the sprinklers are adjusted so they don’t regularly spray the track. This can cause surface discoloration and delamination.

Vegetation needs to be kept from the edge of the track and regularly removed or killed in any joints or cracks.
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