Track Gets a New Track?

Melanie Hanby, Reporter

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How often should you replace your running shoes? If shoes are tortured by everyday activity, sports, and dreaded twelve minute runs, most coaches suggest that shoes should be replaced at least every season. Now think about the surface of a track, and how many thousands of steps have been taken by tired first period PE students and light footed athletes. The miles add up, and our Junction City track is nearing the end of it’s heyday.
The asphalt under a track alone should be replaced every 15-20 years. Our 11 year old track’s surface is almost past it’s expiration date. When adults and student athletes are asked about the condition of our track, the general consensus is that it needs to be resurfaced. It’s not hard to find the holes in the track’s surface or the patch jobs where some of these holes have already been filled in. More seasoned runners take in account the stretches of inner lane that have been worn down enough to hurt, but not enough to have holes that demand repatching.
The rundown track is not scheduled for a makeover, despite the coming updates to our school campus. Currently, a budget for a new track is not in the school’s plan.
While an investment in the Junction City track would seem to benefit just one aspect of one sport, the reaches of a new track run far deeper than a couple seasons of races. A worn down track surface is detrimental to runners. It cultivates injury such as shin splints not only to JC track runners, but competitors from other schools as well. An improved track would make running safer to more schools, and encourage larger competitions and more spectators, which leads to more revenue for the track program. But that’s only a few months out of the year. During school hours, PE students would experience a safer, more comfortable running surface to endure the grueling fitness tests through. That, still, isn’t a daily requirement. Who can, and might, use the high school’s track at any given time on any given day? Well, just about anybody. There is no restriction as to who can use our facilities outside of school hours and sporting events. Hundreds of people in our community spend time on our track, and that only adds to the necessity of getting, at least, the top resurfaced as soon as feasibly possible.
The problem, and the first step, in the process of getting a new track is of course, inevitably, money. A good track can go anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million (high end, but an athlete can dream). The best way to get funding for a new track at the moment would be through fundraising.
This change will, preferably, come sooner rather than later, because as more and more people are running in our community, time is running out for our track.

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