Last weekend, my family and I traveled to Sheboygan, Wisconsin (my wife’s hometown) to celebrate the 4th of July. I needed to get a track workout in while we were there, so I drove over to North High School on Saturday to use their track and to take a few pictures. I found a couple of interesting things here, that I would have not realized had I just been doing my usual research online. First of all, in the Google pic, this looks like a pretty nice facility. Upon closer inspection, like being on the actual track, this one will be needing some work in the not so distant future. But, I’ll discuss that a little later.
The first thing I noticed in the satellite photo, was that there were nine full lanes here. While it’s not totally uncommon, you still don’t see it all that often. At a high school, it’s really nice to have. Once I got to the track, I noticed that there was one additional lanes added to the main straightaway, giving them ten lanes there. However, this extra lane was added to the inside, which is something I haven’t seen before. And to keep the lane numbering consistent around the rest of the track, the extra inside lane is labeled lane #0, which is again something I have not seen before. I have to think that during the distance races of 800m and up, this could potentially mess with the runners a little, because you are typically running in the inside lane for much of the race, but when you come around the second curve, you now are in the second lane. I’m sure there has been a time or two when a runner has been passed by someone on the inside in lane #0.
There were a couple other things that I noticed with the track and field design at Urban Field. The start/finish lines must be a little off from your typical track. At the start for the 300m hurdles here, rather than having lane #1 start back around the corner (where it would be if measured back), they have a special extended starting line measures directly back from the straightway to use instead. At the start of the 100m and 110m hurdles, most tracks extend a dashed line straight backwards, basically extending the straightaway lanes. Here they just leave a gap in the starting line, showing where the lane lines would be. At the end of the main straight, on the north end, you will find the high jump area. The shot put is close there as well. The long/triple jump runways, and the pole vault runways are located behind the bleachers.
Now to the track surface. From a distance, it looks fairly nice. When you get up close though, it’s a different story. It is just a thin layer of some type of black rubber compound, laid down directly on top of asphalt. This rubber is no more than 1/8″ thick. Needless to say, it is very hard. I also wore 1/4″ spikes, and they were way too long for this track, Along the edges on both sides, pieces of the track seem to be tearing off. There are spots in lane #1 that have also worn completely through – not badly, but these will certainly be getting worse, and probably pretty quickly.
One other non-track related item. Both of the football goal posts tip to the right, one to the west, and the other end to the east. I’m not sure how that happened!
With a new track surface, this could be a nice high school venue for track and field. Even though it needs work, it was still fun to train somewhere new for a change.