10th March 2021
Extension to TrackMark Accreditation Deadline Announced
Following discussions with the home countries, a number of facility providers and athletics clubs, UKA have agreed to extend the deadline for venues working towards TrackMark accreditation that enables them to gain UKA competition licenses. The deadline has now been extended by a further year to 31 March 2023.
TrackMark is UKA’s quality assurance scheme for outdoor track and field facilities and was introduced to raise and maintain standards of athletics facility provision and provide a safe, enjoyable experience for all users. This is a particularly important programme given that the UK’s stock of athletics track and field facilities are ageing with many now approaching their 30th birthday. A key driver of TrackMark is to provide venue operators with a professional, technical assessment of their track and field facilities alongside a time phased, costed action plan designed to achieve and maintain minimum facility and equipment standards.
Mark Munro, UKA’s recently appointed Development Director said:
“Following various discussions within the sport and along with our home country partners and the UKA board, we have agreed to extend the deadline. We do want to ensure that work continues within athletics facilities across the UK, but we clearly recognise the challenges that local facility providers and clubs currently face. As such, our absolute priority just now is a return to athletics and to support facility operators to re-open facilities and help clubs and competition providers return to some structured activities.
“This decision will give venue operators time to get back on their feet and another financial year in which to plan and budget for TrackMark inspections and any subsequent remedial work required. It also provides surety for clubs and competition providers to help them plan for the next two outdoor seasons (2021 and 2022) without the worry of whether a facility has attained accreditation or not”.
Within the latest update, the decision has also been taken to extend the deadline requiring venues seeking a Level 1 competition licence to have a World Athletics compliant /new UKA specification throws cage from April 2021 to April 2023.
However, please note, a fully compliant WA/UKA cage is required for ALL UKA licence level 2 events that include hammer or discus throw.
“When TrackMark was originally launched, there were some concerns amongst the athletics community in relation to the pressures and challenges it may place on local facility providers across the UK. I have to admit I was also one of those concerned. However, two years into the scheme, the sport is starting to reap the benefits.
“Since its inception, 30 facilities have been fully accredited and 178 are actively working towards their accreditation and 87 are at the initial stages with circa £8.7 Million being invested by facility owners and operators. This is a fantastic investment back into the sport’s hugely important facility stock and we are extremely grateful to everyone involved to this point.”
The £8.7 Million worth of investment can be broken down by the following;
167 venues commissioned Unit 1 TrackMark track surface inspections which has driven 25 full surface track refurbishments in past 24 months at an average of £300k per refurb (£7.5m).
134 venues commissioned Unit 2 TrackMark field/cage inspections which has driven 57 cage refurbishments at an average of £12k (£684,000) and 14 new World Athletics accredited cages (£490k).
There are also some excellent case studies across the country, particularly where facilities were ‘at risk’ prior to the TrackMark professional surveys resulting in new and additional investment. Two case studies are listed below.
Leisure Partnership Manager at Plymouth City Council, Liz Slater said:
“We knew that the track at Brickfields was in a poor state of repair, but the professional Unit 1 UKA Trackmark inspection report provided us with a detailed, technical assessment of the condition of the track surface and fully costed recommendations. The report proved invaluable and was the ‘evidence of need’ for a capital request to the Council’s Cabinet for a full resurface of the track surface and additional perimeter fencing.
“Funding was by no means a given but the TrackMark report allied to the ambition and determination of City of Plymouth Athletics Club and the operator Everyone Active, resulted in the Council approving upwards of £600k worth of investment into the facility.
“Work on the track resurfacing continued throughout lockdown and we are all really excited about welcoming the club and local people back to the track.”
City of Plymouth AC Club Chair, Paul Crutchley said:
“The TrackMark inspection certainly aided the council’s decision-making process. As a club we were able to quote it in many of our discussions with the operator and council officers to emphasise the fact the facility was not in a fit state to use unless significant repairs were undertaken. We certainly wouldn’t have been given a competition license and training nights would have had to be limited in capacity as some lanes were not useable.
“We now have a fantastic new track and the feedback from the limited use we had between lockdown 2 and 3 from both coaches and athletes has been amazing. The club is very much looking forward to the facility being opened after lockdown 3. It gives us the opportunity for some morale boosting training for all ages and hopefully a few open events for a bit of friendly competition. We hope that this refurbishment is also a catalyst for the wider future development of the Brickfields site for local clubs and the community in general.”
Wavertree Athletics Centre
The first venue in the UK to achieve accreditation. Liverpool Harriers were credited with doing an outstanding job in preparing the TrackMark submission for Wavertree and were supported by Liverpool City Council, Sport England and England Athletics who collectively provided funds for indoor and outdoor track resurfacing, floodlighting improvements and cage modification works. They achieved their accreditation in April 2019.
Arwel Williams, Honorary Club Secretary at Liverpool Harriers AC said:
“TrackMark has raised the profile and bar for our club as we can now get bigger meetings at our venue. We were awarded the Northern Junior Championships in 2019 and they were so successful that we are now scheduled to host Northern Senior and Under 20 Championships in June, which says a lot about the quality of the facility we’ve now got.”
“The Council were very supportive, and by investing in our facility, and helping us to achieve TrackMark accreditation they have ensured we have a competent facility for the future and longevity for our sport.
“Lots of clubs are worried about TrackMark’s costs and that they won’t get support from local authorities. We had complete support for all of the inspections and upgrades required and are now able to deliver domestic league and championship competitions.”