Fixing the problems with the Wilton High School stadium track is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Now one leg of that marathon will take place this Saturday, Aug. 24, at a “Back the Track” 5K and Kids’ Fun Run fundraiser to help raise some of the money needed to perform much needed fixes.

After years of patches and stretching out maintenance for the track, officials are trying to find the most cost effective way to complete a much-needed overhaul of the running surface. “We’re fortunate the track we have lasted as long as it did,” Kevin Foley, founder and coach of the middle school Wilton Running Club and the Wilton-based high school Connecticut Elite Track and Field Club, told GOOD Morning Wilton in 2018.

The town completed some fixes to the all weather track at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium last spring, including replacement of a large section of asphalt near the concession stand and repairs to the running surface in 16 other sections of the track. Those repairs cost $17,300. Replacement of the track will be considered next year at the May, 2020 Annual Town Meeting.

(Town officials say the recently replaced asphalt portion will not have to be redone if the track is ultimately replaced.)

In 2013, the replacement of the track was put into the Town’s long term capital plan with the expectation that the track’s upper asphalt layer had a remaining life of 12 to 15 years and thus the Town would only need to replace the running surface. Cracking in the track since 2013 indicated that more extensive work was required. The asphalt layer is comprised of a base layer, a binder layer, and a top layer, and the Town will not know whether the top or all layers will need to be replaced until work is begun. In doing recent repairs, the top asphalt was removed and the base was intact.

Town officials are encouraged after testing and analysis by two engineering firms in 2018 indicated that the subsurface below the asphalt was acceptable and could be built upon. The current estimate for the asphalt replacement of all three layers and a new running surface is $800,000 to $1,000,000.

The Wilton Running Club, the Wilton Track Association and concerned members of the Wilton Community created a non-profit organization they called Back the Track to help raise a portion of the funds needed for track repairs. The group’s goal is to raise $200,000.

The Back the Track website says that the group has worked with a leading track and field design company called the Paige Design Group, “…to develop a design for a track facility that is sustainable and renewable for the next 25-30 years at a minimal maintenance cost to the town.”

Saturday’s 5K and Kids’ Fun Run is billed as a “great preseason sport warm up for athletes and family fun event for all ages.”

It takes place, naturally, at the Wilton Track. The cost to participate in the 5K is $35, and it starts at 9 a.m.; kids 12-and-under can run in the fun run (beginning at 8:45 a.m.) for $10. For more information visit the sign-up page online.