Racing into Victory


Nico Viglucci

The nearly renovated track.

Nicolas Viglucci , Staff Writer

Coral Gables Senior High School, one of the oldest in the county, opened its doors 65 years ago in 1950. Its old age is evident as its buildings become increasingly dilapidated. As newer schools were built, they included more recent innovations in building technology, including the use of rubberized tracks. Our school sported an older asphalt track, one with many problems.

Asphalt is inferior to rubber primarily because it is detrimental to those who run on it. The hard surface of an asphalt track can cause stress fractures and ligament injuries by putting excessive strain on a runner’s legs and feet, resulting in long periods of recovery; stress fractures often take over three months to heal and often go unnoticed, disguised as general soreness. This is often enough time to put an athlete out of commission for an entire season, causing the whole team to suffer. Using rubber in place of asphalt helps to deaden the shock on a runner’s feet during a hard sprint, and is generally more agreeable to run on. The slight amount of spring helps a runner drive forward and increase leg turnover speed.

Most other schools in Miami use rubberized tracks for this reason. Additionally, they have been accepted as the worldwide standard; high-tech rubber tracks are featured in the Olympics. Since Gables was an outlier, it caused an issue when running track meets at other schools. Track spikes are necessary for achieving the fastest times because they are light and force a runner to land on the ball of his foot as opposed to the heel. This helps short-distance runners keep their pace high while maintaining an efficient stride. Unfortunately, track spikes require special training to build stabilizing muscles and cannot be used on a concrete track. As a result, similar cross-country flats are often used. They are not similar enough to yield an absolutely identical running experience, and slight differences in shoe shape will affect a runner’s time. Accurate race-pace timing could not be achieved on the Gables track due to the same shoes were not used. Gables students could only use track spikes at track meets at other schools, but they were not used to them, lengthening their running times.

Ransom Everglades High School stepped in last year with a warmly-welcomed proposal: they would rubberize and rebuild the track in exchange for practice time for their team. A strong partnership had already existed between the schools, as the Gables swim team uses Ransom Everglades’s pool for practice. In virtue of the fact that Ransom has no room on their campus for the installation of a track, they decided Gables would be the most convenient location due to its proximity. During track season, Gables will have the opportunity to run side-by-side and compete with Ransom, pushing all athletes further and harder than ever before, effectively improving the quality of both teams. Although the idea was presented near the beginning of last school year, the administration had to cut through bureaucratic red tape. Construction finally began over the summer and is presently continuing.

Students look forward to the installation of a new track not only because of the comfortable rubber surface but also because Ransom has fixed other issues with the track. The drainage never worked properly, flooding the track after rainy days and forcing runners to veer around deep puddles. The stripes and markings on the asphalt track were nearly invisible. Lane markings and finish lines are necessary for consistent running, helping to keep runners from colliding or stopping before the finish line. The new track will have high-quality paint and an improved drainage system.

“I hated the old track. Track days used to be dreaded, but I’m looking forward to running on a nice new track. It will definitely improve the experience,” junior Gabrielle Saliamonas said.

The sponsorship of a new track by Ransom Everglades is a welcome addition to our beloved school, improving a well-aged utility that should have been replaced long ago. Gables constantly strives for excellence, and this deal will help both students and forge a stronger relationship with Ransom and the community.