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Recreational Surfacing vs. Natural Athletic Tracks

hurdle, track and field, track, jump, athlete

Natural athletic surfaces, such as dirt and turf, have been traditionally preferred to the older alternatives such as asphalt and concrete due to the difficulty of training on a harsh surface. Attempting to train for either recreational or competitive long-term running on a hard surface like asphalt or concrete is a nightmare for any athlete’s feet. Harsh surfaces also present a greater risk of injury in the event of a fall or a slip. Natural tracks provide a softer surface, but they require careful maintenance to preserve the conditions of the track and running surfaces. Grass fields come with natural hazards such as running water, dips in the track created by puddles, gopher holes and things of that nature (no pun intended). Landscape architects and county engineers longed for a recreational surface that offered both safety and performance while also requiring lower maintenance and upkeep.


Synthetic Surfacing Hits the Scene

Flashback to the late 1960s, Mexico City, at the Summer Olympics. The first fully synthetic track makes the scene, providing safe recreational surfacing for the runners competing in various events. Although some recreational surfacing options had been developed by then, they were rough and mainly consisted of a crude mixture of asphalt and sand. Since then, new polyurethane surfacing has revolutionized the industry. Recreational safety surfacing has become the standard for major fields of competition and local parks and playgrounds around the world.


The Advantage of Recreational Surfacing

Recreational surfacing offers many benefits on the field that natural surfaces do not. Runners love it for the amount of shock absorption it offers, which is similar to grass and dirt tracks but doesn’t make the runners lose speed like a natural surface does. The comfortable, two-layer rubber system offers a softer layer to give a bit of shock absorption to cushion your feet or a fall with a firm layer underneath to prevent loss of speed and optimize performance on the field. Being able to provide this type of performance has earned recreational surfacing an excellent reputation. They are fully capable of maintaining their excellent traction through all sorts of inclement weather, whereas any natural surface is out of play once a storm comes around. This affords athletes the chance to peruse training uninterrupted throughout the year despite the changing of the seasons.


If you’re interested in purchasing custom recreational safety surfacing for your home playground, private or public school district, or town recreational department, please contact us anytime at 330.567.6058.

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