EUGENE, Ore. – What weighs more than 200 tons, covers 40,000 square feet and takes 14 days to assemble?
The answer can be found inside the House of Track, now the official name of a warehouse in northwest Portland where a new 200-meter banked oval track is being pieced together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
The portable track will be unveiled to the public on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at an open house beginning at 6 p.m. The open house will be held in conjunction with the first TrackTown Tuesday of the year; the first time this free monthly town hall meeting has been held outside of the Eugene-Springfield community.
Details to be announced soon.
The frame of the track contains over 100 tons of galvanized steel and sits on more than 2,000 adjustable legs. The 200-meter oval track includes 10 percent banking on each end, and an infield with eight 60-meter lanes and room for the pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot put and high jump competitions to be held.
Once completed, the track – which will eventually find its way into the Oregon Convention Center for the 2016 USATF Indoor Championships and 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in March – will be made available to the public for a series of free training and competitive opportunities beginning in mid-January.
Dates for planned indoor track and field meets are: January 15-16, January 22-23, January 29-30 and February 5-6. The meets will be fully sanctioned by the Oregon Association of USA Track & Field and all results will be recorded and reported for NCAA compliance.
In the meantime, a lightning-fast, state-of-the-art polyurethane surface is in the process of being poured by prime contractor Beynon Sports Surfaces to finish off the track. Once the community use of the track is finished, it will be disassembled into 1,400 different sections for transport and reassembly at the Oregon Convention Center starting on Feb. 25. Just 14 days later, the track will be used for the first of two major track and field meets.
It is expected to be the fastest indoor track in America.
The ultimate test arrives when athletes qualify for Team USA at the 2016 USATF Indoor Championships, March 11-12, followed by the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships, March 17-20, the first time this event has been contested in the U.S. since the inaugural 1987 meet was held in Indianapolis.
More than 600 of the world’s greatest track and field athletes from as many as 200 different countries are expected to compete for medals and prize money at the four-day meet which will be televised live by NBC Sports Channel on Saturday and Sunday.
The track will sit in the middle of a new temporary 7,000-seat stadium to be built inside the Oregon Convention Center. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, so don’t delay – tickets are still available at Portland2016.com.