Just three days after the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes Track and Field Championships in May, a road grader invaded campus and tore up the surface of Indiana Wesleyan University’s outdoor track, according to Track and Field Assistant Coach Eric Jackson.
The new track, which Beynon Sports Surfaces is currently installing, is in the final stages of construction.
According to Athletic Director Mark DeMichael, the old Mondo track was in operation for 19 years since its previous resurfacing, having lasted about seven years past its life expectancy.
“We took such good care of [the old track] over the years,” Jackson said. “Our facilities guys were amazing at how well it was maintained.”
Though Mondo and Beynon are both rubberized tracks, the method in which they’re made is different. For the 1994 resurfacing of the track, Mondo applied the surface in large carpet-like rolls, about 13 millimeters thick, atop a flat asphalt base, Jackson explained.
This process, however, allowed rainwater to seep in through the seams of the alternating red and gray rolls, corroding the asphalt underneath. Every fall Mondo would return and fill the seams that had split apart.
The new track by Beynon Sports Surfaces will eliminate this problem. Unlike Mondo, Beynon comes in, pours a liquid surface onto the asphalt, and shovels the rubber granules onto the surface, according to Jackson.
DeMichael explained that a major motivation in choosing Beynon to resurface the track was that the University of Oregon, the location of the past two Olympic trial venues and the premier track facility in the country, recently resurfaced their track with the same company.
“It’s really safe for the athletes,” DeMichael said. “It’s soft enough that it’s safe on the legs, but it’s also [firm] enough that it’s pretty fast, which is the perfect thing for what the athletes are looking for.”
Like the old version, the new track will represent school colors. The entire surface will be red, with the exception of gray relay exchange zones. Instead of the standard brick red, however, IWU invested in a customized hobart finish, which will make the track bright red. Beynon ran UV tests on the finish to ensure it wouldn’t fade pink, Director of Facilities Services Don Rowley said.
“It’ll be a unique look. You don’t see this very often,” DeMichael said. “Most tracks are just one color… [Ours] will really pop.”
The purpose of this finish is to not only freshen the color but also “encapsulate” the track. According to Jackson, it will hold the rubber granules in place so that they don’t flake off and clog the drainage systems.
Beynon is currently in the final stages of construction. Though there have been delays from rain, Jackson said, there is no rush to finish the project.
“We’d rather have them be deliberate and do it right. Don’t rush through it and make any mistakes,” DeMichael said. “You don’t do this very often, so when [you] do do it, you want to make sure they do it right.”
Jackson said there is no immediate reason to rush the project. Though fall track starts this week, the first indoor meet is not until Dec. 1. Most runners are using the weight room to prepare for this season. If they need the indoor track facility, that is open as well.
If weather holds, the outdoor track should be finished within the next two weeks.