Open Announce

Indoor Track at the Albuquerque Convention Center

The indoor track at the Albuquerque Convention Center has emerged as one of the preeminent indoor track & field facilities in the nation over the last decade. In concert with the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Albuquerque Convention Center, New Mexico has capitalized on its unique venue and prime training location with the indoor track at the ACC. The facility has hosted 14 Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships, nine USATF Indoor National Championships, and five NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships — the first in NCAA history hosted at altitude. The ABCC has also hosted the NJCAA Indoor National Championships (2015) and NCAA Division II Championships (2012).

The most recent surface at the ABCC was unveiled in March 2021 and cost $3 million in total, with renovations that helped solidify the city’s ability to attract and keep hosting national meets that bring the best competition to Albuquerque. Since 2005, 102 indoor track meets have been hosted at the ABCC — 16 being national championship events at either the collegiate or national level — and indoor track has generated over $30 million in revenue for the city of Albuquerque in that span.

The track — a state-of-the-art WSTY Mondo, the same surface used at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo — is a 200-meter, 60-degree banked track with 60-meter straightaways running the entire length of the facility. It also includes men’s and women’s jumping runways and pits, as well as areas for shot put, pole vault and high jump events. The surface of the track is striped with cherry red and turquoise to reflect UNM’s colors and the state color of New Mexico.

“Every time there is an Olympic Games we try to improve the formulation of the material and Tokyo has been no different,” said Andrea Vallauri, the track’s designer. “The track is very thin, 14mm. But we have added a new element: these rubber granules.

“In the lower layer of the track is this hexagonal design that creates these small pockets of air. They not only provide shock absorption but give some energy return; at the same time a trampoline effect. We have improved this combination and this is why we are seeing the track has improved performance.”

Bringing indoor track to Albuquerque was a confluence of good timing, a proactive city council and an irresistible sale. In spring of 2004, Albuquerque city leaders learned of a $1 million unused and undamaged indoor track sitting in storage in Canada that could be purchased for a mere $500,000. The state-of-the-art Mondo track had originally been ordered, then later declined, for use in the Los Angeles Staples Center arena.

That track finally found a home inside the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque and made its debut on Jan. 15, 2005 for the inaugural Albuquerque All-Comers meet, ending a 20-year absence of an indoor track in the Duke City. It was the facility’s primary surface until it was replaced in March of 2021.

The Albuquerque Convention Center’s first indoor track surface, operated from 2005-2021.

Nearly identical to the track used by the University of Arkansas at the Randal Tyson Track Center, the first iteration of Albuquerque’s new indoor facility received rave reviews from athletes, coaches and fans. Like the Arkansas facility, which has hosted a number of NCAA Indoor Championships in the new millennium, Albuquerque and University of New Mexico officials believed the city would become a destination for some of the nation’s premier events — and they were right.

The Albuquerque All-Comers meet marked the University of New Mexico’s first indoor competition at home since hosting the 1987 Western Athletic Conference Championships in Tingley Coliseum at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. The Lobos under former Head Coach Joe Franklin and current Head Coach Darren Gauson now regularly host between four and six indoor meets per year, not only giving the Lobos a home track advantage but bringing in countless numbers of teams, participants, and fans that have pushed the economic impact of the track beyond the original estimates.

In the mid-60s Albuquerque was one of the nation’s elite indoor track and field locations. At this time, Albuquerque’s colleges would often enlist businesses to sponsor international athletes to make the trip and compete in Albuquerque, to great support from the community — Tingley averaged over 13,000 in attendance per meet over its time of operation. The 1966 AAU Indoor Nationals (now known as the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships) drew a two-day total of nearly 20,000 fans to Tingley Coliseum and was featured on the March 14 cover of Sports Illustrated. Albuquerque officials were able to lure the meet away from its regular home at Madison Square Garden in New York City that year.