SAPCA Award Finalist in Focus: Polytan's New Smartrack for Elite Athletes

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The 2017 SAPCA Awards attracted a record number of entries, with a total of 18 contenders making it on to the final long list. From the list, a panel of judges chose Rocklyn Sports as the overall winner of the prize for the company’s work on an indoor tennis centre at Ellesmere College in Shropshire.

In the seventh of a series of articles, highlighting the 17 finalists, we look at how Polytan’s new SmarTracks allows elite athletes and trainers to record and assess details of their performance during training using digital technology.

Smart Runs

Keeping a detailed log of training session and performance is crucial for professional athletes – and any ambitious runners. To help athletes with this, SAPCA member Polytan teamed up with Humotion – a German service provider for mobile monitoring systems – in order to create a running track system which would be able to record accurate data.

The Polytan SmarTracks product is based on two elements: a “smart” running track and a personal sensor worn by the athlete. The SmarTracks app can be downloaded on an Android mobile device, or the athlete can choose to wear a sensor.

On the track, magnetic gates are distributed at certain points to record data of the athlete’s performance from one timing gate to the other. The data records motion from the timing gates, allowing athletes to record distance, stride length, stride frequency, jump heights, tappings, splits performance, number of spots and more.

The collected data is then analysed by the system and is used to plan the training required to optimise the athlete’s development. Uniquely, the system can be used by multiple athletes at the same time – as long as they are wearing SmarTracks sensors.

One of the many advantages of the system is that the athlete can train remotely and the data can be sent to the coach – wherever they are.


The Polytan SmarTracks system can be installed at the time of a new installation or resurface – or retrospectively in an existing surface.

The magnetic timing gates can be easily integrated into existing running tracks. The gates are entirely maintenance-free and are simply let into the running track at defined intervals. The boreholes created in this process are then properly resealed.

“Polytan SmarTracks has been designed as a sophisticated, professional diagnostic system for everyday training use,” says David McCulley, managing director of Polytan Sports Surfaces UK.

“In short, Polytan SmarTracks is a unique system providing the athletes and coaches with accurate repeatable data as well as offering the track the opportunity to attract new members looking to use the system.”

System in Use

Polytan currently works with a number of international athletes who use the SmarTracks system to aid the improvement in their competition performance. These include current 100m world champion Justin Gatlin and Team GB middle distance runner Katie Snowden, who used the system in her preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Snowden uses both a mobile system when training at Loughborough University and a fully installed system when based at home in London. Once training is complete using either system the data is downloaded and shared with the coach to review and set the next goals.

For more information on Polytan Sports Surfaces (UK) Ltd, please click [here]