Newly resurfaced track a welcome sight for Thunderbolt runners

Author: Addie O’Meara & Brenna Mazour, News & Opinion Editor & Staff Writer, Xchange

Pius X track and field and cross country runners will feel a difference while practicing on the new O’Boyle track.

Activities Director Tim Aylward said, “[The old track] was ready to be refinished. It was worn in places, and was becoming almost hazardous. It was slick and getting harder for the runners to train on.”

trackAccording to Aylward, the track update was a Booster Club project. They save a certain amount of money each year for a project and they finally had enough saved up that they could make the dream a reality.

Everyone can see the appearance of the track has changed dramatically due to the bright top coat, but only the people who ran on the former track and are now running on the new one can judge the actual feel of it.

Aylward said the entire track was totally resurfaced and more material was added on the top to give it a lot more texture and just a better overall running surface.

Junior Cross Country runner Campbell Mandery said her first impression of the track was “very shiny”, didn’t notice a change in elevation, and that it didn’t feel too different from the old track.

However, the majority of the runners agree with the coaches on how the track is a definite improvement from the previous one, but believe that it has a few flaws.

Junior Cross Country runner Julia Wordekemper said, “I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the squeaking noise that the coating of the track makes when you run on it, especially when it rains.”

Looking past the small cosmetic complaints, the runners will experience some long-term benefits.

“[The new track] definitely looks nicer and since I’ve started running on it, my knees and legs have hurt less,” said junior cross country runner Carly Abel.

Mandery felt that although the track does look very nice, the difference of quality from the last track is not what she thought it would be.

Aylward said, “I think that it won’t be as hard and compact. It’ll be a bit more resilient, if you will, or not as hard on the feet and knees.”

Perhaps the track may not feel dramatically different initially, but over time, it is not expected to harm joints and legs as much.

Physical education teacher and track and field coach Bill Rice said, “Because they put a new coating on top, kids won’t get as many shin splints as they have the last few years.”

Rice explained that when the track was first installed 10 or 12 years ago, students almost never got shin splints, but as the track aged, that particular injury became extremely common.

If the new updates to the track can reduce the number of shin splints, then both the cross country and track runners will benefit greatly.

Preventing potential injuries is not the only beneficial aspect, but also it is expected to help runners with their footing.

“The construction crew repainted the track, put a new coating over the whole thing, and put some grit on top so that runners won’t slip as much as they used to, even if the track is wet,” Rice said.

Before the resurfacing, the paint on the track tended to be extremely slippery for the runners, but some athletes also believe that this new track is the solution to the many falling accidents.

Junior cross country and track runner Domani Occansey said, “Personally, I can feel a difference in the traction, and it’s much more comfortable to run on than the last track.”

One thing that both runners and coaches can agree on is that the new track is an improvement from the old one. It might not be a huge difference, but the track is now easier on everyone’s shins.

While it might take some getting used to, these students all agree that the new track will help athletes in the long run.

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