ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The indoor track and field season is about to begin. However, many don’t know that the City of Albuquerque is a standout in the indoor track and field world.
“You don’t see too many tracks indoor tracks in this country; we are one of the few,” said Stephen Madrid, a park’s supervisor with the City of Albuquerque.
Over the course of 10 days, a team with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department puts this track together inside the Convention Center every year.
This track, and its competitors, have taken over the 100,000-square-foot space for 19 seasons. It sees thousands of athletes taking their places on the starting blocks or in field events, bringing out the best of the best collegiately and professionally.
Teams lift nearly 600 panels, each about 300 lbs, and put them in place. The infield has a 60-meter straight away, and areas for the long jump with 25 tons of sand. It’s become an essential stop on the indoor track circuit.
“We stream our events, and we had over 51 countries watching our track and field events,” said Park Supervisor Stephen Mardid.
The indoor track and field area brings in more than future Olympians to the Duke City, it brings in revenue: nearly $2.2 million over the 7-week season.
This year, the Convention Center will host two major invitationals that will bring in even more money.
“We will be hosting USA national championships, and we’ll be hosting the NCAA Division One National Championships, the projected economic impact of over $3 million to the City of Albuquerque,” said Mardid.
More athletes, more people, more hotel stays, and more restaurant visits equal more money for the city.
For the people who do this work, setting up this track means setting up a future for these athletes.
“It’s a world-class track. We compete at a high level. There’s no such thing as being almost set up. You have to be correct. Every single time. Somebody’s career may depend on it. Somebody’s personal record may depend on it,” explained Mardid.
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The indoor track season kicks off with the UNM Martin Luther King Jr invitational on January 21.