The Indoor Track Capital
Albuquerque has developed a reputation as the world’s indoor track and field capital. The centerpiece of the city’s indoor track scene is the Albuquerque Convention Center, which is the home venue for the University of New Mexico’s track and field team, and has hosted numerous top-tier regional and national events since 2005, when it first installed a Mondo portable banked track.
Since then, the convention center hosted the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2014—and the event is scheduled to return in 2023—in addition to eight USA Indoor Track & Field Championships since 2010, Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships and USA Track & Field Masters Indoor Championships.
“By hosting meets such as USA Track & Field and NCAA indoor championships, Albuquerque has emerged as a national destination in the world of track and field,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “This track is a smart investment in our recreation, sports and tourism economy that will boost our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The quality of the facility has even had a measurable impact on the city’s bottom line. According to Visit Albuquerque, the local visitors bureau, in a typical year, track events at the convention center account for 4,500 room nights, 6,000 guests and $1.6 million in direct spending for the city.
A History of Durability--And Speed
During its 15 years of use at the convention center, the first Mondo track more than proved its durability, its ease of maintenance and its ability to help athletes achieve their personal bests.
According to Stephen Madrid, Albuquerque parks supervisor, the track stood up to heavy use, year in and year out: During the indoor track season, the Albuquerque Convention Center would host 10 to 12 meets year. But the track proved easy to maintain in championship condition, he said.
What’s more, athletes routinely set PRs on the track—and the venue saw several state, national and even world records set in recent years.
“The records speak for themselves,” Madrid said. “When athletes can compete on a Mondo track like the one we have and see all of their hard work and preparation turn into a personal record, that means a lot to them.”
When it was time to replace the track, Albuquerque city executives again turned to Mondo.
Upgrading to Mondotrack WS
For the replacement track, city executives chose the most technologically advanced athletic track in the world, which is the same track surface being used for the Tokyo Olympic Games: Mondotrack WS.
Ideal for high-level training and competition, Mondotrack WS is produced to guarantee elasticity and a uniform dynamic response across the entire track surface. Its patented surface provides grip under all conditions and improves slip resistance, and its lower layer can be deformed in three dimensions to provide the perfect combination of shock absorption, energy storage and energy return to improve athletic performance.
At the Albuquerque Convention Center, the Mondotrack WS surface is installed on a portable banked 200-meter oval with six 42-inch-wide lanes. The installation also includes a Mondo Fast Break infield with an eight-lane, 60-meter straight, a high-jump area, and two long jump/triple jump runways. The track boasts a distinctive color palette of turquoise and cherry red, a tribute to the color scheme of UNM track and field uniforms.
A Boon for Venue Staff, Competitors and the City
From day one the new Mondo track proved its value. Madrid said his staff quickly learned that the Mondo Fast Break infield—custom designed by Mondo for this installation—was surprisingly easy to set up. “The simplicity of the newly engineered infield is very exciting and exponentially faster to set up than the previous track. That will save our staff a lot of work and reduce the impact on their backs and knees during installation and takedown.”
In addition, UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez said the new Mondo installation will benefit not only student-athletes but also the broader community.
“Not only does it impact our nationally ranked track and field and cross-country programs by giving us a world-class running surface and giving our student-athletes one of the best home track and field facilities in the nation,” he said, “but it allows for the continued economic growth of Albuquerque and the downtown area by allowing us to host multiple major meets, including Mountain West and NCAA championships.”
See the track here.