During summer training in 2018, six Italian sprinters, champions in their respective events, put the new MONDO running tracks through their paces without being told in advance which surface they were using. The purpose? To select the ideal professional-level training surface. In the end, the athletes unanimously preferred Sportflex Super X 720 K41. Designed for intensive training, the surface is capable of providing the levels of shock absorption and energy return demanded by athletes who regard high-performance tracks as their main ally in their quest for victory.
During their training, elite professional athletes must have access to the best possible equipment, including running tracks that combine high performance with comfort. But what gives a track those attributes?
To find out, we listened to professional athletes who train on our tracks every day. Based on their input, we returned to the MONDO laboratory to develop a series of brand new prototype surfaces that were designed to provide optimum shock absorption levels while maintaining the biomechanical performance of competition running tracks.
During the summer of 2018, we invited Federico Cattaneo, Massimiliano Ferraro, Davide Manenti, Diego Marani, Diego Aldo Petterossi and Wanderson Polanco to carry out “blind” testing on our new tracks, to help us identify the ideal solution for their training needs.
The tests were carried out at Nebiolo Stadium in Turin’s Parco Ruffini, where we installed 1.22m x 30m tracks, each with the same physical appearance, one next to another. We invited the athletes try them out for one month during the course of their intensive training programs. Each athlete was asked to test each track by running a 20 meter sprint and then completing a questionnaire about their opinions of the surface.
The questionnaire sought the athletes’ input on how they perceived the various surfaces’ elastic and biometrical response—and which, in their opinion, was best suited to repetitive training activities.
The selected tracks covered the entire range of shock absorption levels permitted by the IAAF, from 35% to 48%, but the athletes were not given any advance information about the performance or intended use of each surface.
“I've experienced a number of different MONDO tracks during my professional career, and I've always had a really good feeling. They offer really good performance, do not cause pain and are ideal for training,” Federico Cattaneo, gold medal winner in the 4x100 at the 2018 Mediterranean Games, told us.
The Nebiolo Stadium Sprint Team athletes have extensive experience running on MONDO surfaces, having used them both for training and during national and international meets.
Their responses to the questionnaire, which included questions on how the runners perceived factors such as energy return, vertical deformation, comfort and performance, confirmed the results obtained in the laboratory: Sportflex Super X 720 K41 offers athletes the perfect combination of comfort and performance.
Professional and high-level athletes prefer to train on competition-grade surfaces and carry out repetitive and intensive training activities on a more comfortable version of the same surface.
Sportflex Super X 720 K41 offers greater comfort and shock absorption than Sportflex Super X 720 K39, while guaranteeing the same biometrical response. Thus, the two surfaces may be installed side by side at the same training (or competition) facility, creating an environment where athletes can both compete and pursue their intensive training programs.