Making Do With A Dirt Track

While contemplating on doing some interval runs on a rubberized oval track, i was wondering if there was even one that existed near my place in Quezon City. The nearest one i’ve been frequenting in the past is the Marikina Sports Center, about 10 kms away and i’m not even sure now if their track oval is still open to the public.

That Quezon City, a premier business, commercial and residential hub which prides itself as being a cosmopolitan city and was once the Philippines’ capital doesn’t have any decent rubberized track and field oval of its own is a travesty, a disservice to its athletes and to us ordinary runners who would want a decent place to train.

If Pasig has its Ultra Sports Complex, Marikina its Marikina Sports center, Manila its Rizal Memorial Complex and Makati its University of Makati track oval, then why doesn’t Quezon City have one? I’m not aware of any of the major schools having a decent track.

We all know that running fast repeats on a relatively fast and soft surface that gives stable footing like a rubberized track offers some unique training benefits by improving your speed without the added stress to your legs.

The dirt track

Dirt track oval

If the picture above seems familiar, but not quite familiar to those running outside of Quezon City, then let me tell you that this oval is located inside the University of the Philippines campus. This is not the popular 2.2km academic oval where majority of runners do their running but this is a 400 meter dirt track located at the back of the Alumni Center, used mainly by the school’s football team.

It’s not swank or anything like those of Ultra or Rizal Memorial but it can serve the purpose for those who want to inject some measured interval/speed runs in their training specially now that the surface is dry and firm. A few days ago, just to test the track, i did some speed runs consisting of 5 x 400 runs at faster than 5k pace and 6 x 200 meter sprints. Over-all the surface was good, fast but not too firm.

During the rainy season though, it’s quite impossible to run in here as it becomes a veritable obstacle course where water is ankle-deep and your shoes are practically covered with mud.

I wish that the school authorities or the government gives priority and allocate a budget to develop this track oval where not only UP students would benefit but also for health conscious residents of Quezon City so they can use it too for their workouts.

Taken before sunrise

Two friends playing badminton in the middle of the oval

Left side of the track

16 responses to “Making Do With A Dirt Track

  1. Hi JazzRunner! I pass through this place all the time during my training runs (where I often see you, too!) but I never even thought about doing speed training on the university track. Thanks for bringing this to peoples’ attention. Sometimes the things we’re looking for are the ones that stare us in the face.

    I agree with you and hope that funds would be allocated to repair the track. I’ve read somewhere that there was a race aimed to raise funds for the university track but I never heard about it afterwards.

    • Hi Leland! Early morning before sun rise would be the perfect time to run on this track. Good alternative to our usual “Heartbreak Hill” route!

      Thanks for dropping by!:-)

    • I agree, Bry. Although it’s still very usable, i think it still needs some maintenance (patch up some holes, sweep of the leaves, etc) so that it could be fully utilized.

  2. Sir Rene, you might want to check out the elevated 200m oval inside Ateneo’s Moro Lorenzo Sports Center. They charge a very minimal fee, and you don’t have to be an Atenean or an alumnus. You can also use the locker and shower facilities. I used to run there a lot before I moved to Pasig.


    • Ah yes, Camp Aguinaldo. I hope its available for use to the public, though. Thanks, Rotech!:-)

  3. Sir Rene, i seem to remember that the Botak 100/50/10miler/etc last year was held with the proceeds going to the rehab of the UP track oval according to the organizers. do you know of any updates as to whatever happened with that project? i remember i registered even if i did not run that event (didnt like the 10miler course) just to support a project for the alma mater. UP is long overdue for a tartan track.

    • Hi Ronin! There isn’t any update yet regarding Botak’s plan to rehabilitate. I even asked the members of the UP track team for any status but they don’t haven’t any idea about it. We’ll ask again soon.

  4. I learned track & field and the hurdles at a grass track (dirt pag summer). You can try working out at the Ateneo High School oval too. I haven’t used the UP Track since 2002, but if memory serves me right, the AHS oval has a flatter surface.

    • Hi H49! i’ll try to run there at AHS one time. Our route sometimes gets us inside the ateneo campus.:-)

  5. hi, i would like to ask help from anybody who knows where and who to contact contractors for this rubberized track and field?

  6. Pingback: Track Down | PALISTINIAN

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