Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

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Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby tsorenson » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:30 pm

I am looking at building a raised runway, and I am hoping to keep it 24" wide to maximise plywood usage.
Anybody have experience with a 2' wide runway, and care to comment whether it felt too narrow? It seems like it would be OK but I thought I'd ask all you gurus out there for your opinion. I hate to cut the plywood wider and have to patch or waste material. I also don't want it to be so narrow that it feels sketchy.

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby vaultmd » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:38 pm

If it were mine, I would go the full 4'. It's not as wide as it sounds once you stand/run on it. I would consider 3' to be the bare minimum.

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby Divalent » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:01 pm

I'm certainly no guru, but it strikes me that a 2ft wide runway is a bit on the narrow side, particularly for a raised runway, where a misstep could mean a season-ending injury. Two ft is exactly 3/8th of an inch wider than the front opening of the box, which means your runway would only extend out 3/16th of an inch on either side. (FYI, 42 inches (3' 6") is the recommended HS runway width.)

It may very well be the case (I don't know) that virtually every decent vaulter uses only the middle 2 ft on a normal runway, but there is almost certainly going to be a psychological fear factor keeping at least part of their mind focused on something they shouldn't have to focus on.

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby master » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:59 am

It would mean more seams on the runway, but you could cut a 4'x8' sheet into 3 pieces 4' long by 32" wide. It would take more material than a 2' wide runway, but at least there would not be any waste. Unfortunately I don't know how wide any of the raised runways I have competed on are.
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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby baggettpv » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:12 am

31 7/8" works well with materials and lengths. I am a carpenter.

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby aseinc » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:59 am

I make raised runways and 31 7/8 is the minimum width that you will want to make them. 36" will fell better when you run on it. When you make them that narrow (24") It will fell as if you are going to fall off the side as you make your approach run.

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby tsorenson » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:37 am

Like John, I coulnd't remember the width I had used before. 4 feet seems way too wide and heavy; 31' 7/8 sounds like a good compromise; 24"...probably would feel a bit sketchy.
Thanks gurus!
Tom

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby vaultwest » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:17 pm

Tom
Years ago I made a runway that was 24" wide by ripping 4' sheets in half, as you asked about. We used if for years under the west grandstand at Hayward field when I coached at Oregon. It was the runway we used for the beginner group at our symposium last year. It seems too narrow but jumping on it was never a problem for me or any of my athletes. I did widen in over the last two 8' lengths at the box to 4' wide around the box. For the symposium we also built a runway and for just a little extra money we bought 6' X 8' sheets of plywood and ripped them in half for a 3' wide runway and that seemed much better to me. Hope that helps
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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby sabato » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:32 pm

If you want to maximize the plywood and still have a runway that is wide enough then you need to cut the plywood in thirds. So a basic sheet of plywood is 8' x 4'. if you cut it in thirds along the long side, you will get three sheets that are 4' x 32". If you make your sections 8' long and then you will cover 1.5 sections with a single sheet of plywood. This setup is probably the best setup when taking into account weight and maximizing the use of the plywood and making the runway wide enough.

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby tsorenson » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:59 pm

That's the plan, thanks.
I was pretty sure I had jumped on a 24" before, now I remember the one at Dan's place, and maybe the one at Willamette U? I can see 24" being fine for experienced vaulters, but we will have some beginners so we'd better keep it safe with 31 7/8.

I love how all the Oregonians chimed in on building the raised runways...at least we don't let our crappy winter/spring weather stop us from pole vaulting, right?! Not sure which is worse, the rain over there or the snow over here...hope to see you guys at some upcoming meets; I want to see John break his WR again :yes:

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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby superpipe » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:04 pm

Interesting. I'm currently building a raised runway myself. I love carpentry and am pretty anal with building anything. In case people didn't realize, Baggett's comment on the 31 7/8" is to take into account the saw blade thickness and the fact that most lumber is just slightly longer than 8'. I cut my 8' 2x4 joists at that length. Anyway, my runway is 32+" wide rubber on 37" wide plywood. This runway width is pretty ideal and the width span isn't so much to take away from the sturdiness with just using 2x4 joists. Here's a pic:

Image

I will be putting together a raised runway building plan within the next couple of months, complete with pictures and tricks to create a near seamless ( to the eye ) runway made of 8' sections. I even came up with a way to heavily brace the plant box. It fits together like puzzle pieces. No hardware required to keep the sections together. No more rolling out the rubber runway on it. I've got a way to attach the rubber and deal with the expansion and contraction caused by temperature ( It's amazing how much the rubber expands on a warm day and vice versa with even room temp). It's hard to beat the sturdiness of the runway I've built here. Completely portable too. Sections are a bit heavy, but worth it because of the sturdiness.
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Re: Width of Raised Runway? Is 24" enough?

Unread postby ClintonMagus » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:39 am

We are building one right now, and are making it 42" wide. This is the recommended minimum runway width per USATF and other organizations, and the roll-out runway we are using is just slightly larger than 36 inches. Also, it gives the vaulters a bit of a safety factor, side-to-side.

We didn't go the full 48" plywood width, simply to cut out as much weight as possible. Also, making it 48 inches wide would have necessitated the use of another set of longitudinal supports, adding still more weight.

Here is an early photo of the runway. Since this was taken, diagonal braces have been added to the runway sections, and the box section has been braced. The sections fit together much like the runway pictured in the previous post.

Image


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