Good News at Ellington

September 21, 2005

Georgetown University, with as rich a heritage of track excellence [pdf] as any school in the nation, has been functioning without a track on campus since 1999. That's when leaks through the roof of Yates Field House necessitated an overhaul of Kehoe Field and the subsequent elimination of the 400-meter synthetic rubber track.

How is it possible to maintain national pre-eminence in this sport without a home track? Not easily, according to Head Coach Ron Helmer. Home meets throughout our athletic history have never been a frequent occurrence, and the demise of dual meets has lessened the need for a traditional campus stadium track. Practice is another matter however. Relying upon high school facilities in northern Virginia has been the norm for the past six years, but it is far from an adequate solution. Can you imagine bringing a top high school quarter-miler recruit to campus and not wanting to show him or her where you run and train?




The present Copley Lawn was the site of Georgetown's track in 1901

Much to Coach Helmer's relief, that is about to change real soon. In a cooperative arrangement with the DC Public Schools and the local advisory neighborhood commission, Georgetown is underwriting the cost of retrofitting the dilapidated cinder track at "Ellington" Field. The field, once the athletic field for Western HS and later home of the UDC FireBirds, is now used by Wilson HS, Maret, and scads of neighborhood dogs and their masters seeking a convenient canine privy.

For the cost of installing a brand new 320-meter synthetic track over what was formerly a fifth-of-a-mile oval, the Hoyas will soon gain limited use access for track practice. The new track should be completed no later than the end of October 2005. It's not perfect, but it will suffice until a permanent solution can be devised for an on-campus track that can be used by all members of the university community as well as other athletic teams.


Hoya Saxa, it will be the first time in this
century that our runners will have a track
to call their home!



RETURN to VFTH Home



In addition to the track around the present Copley Lawn, a practice track in 1927 was available on the current site of Lauinger Library





An overhead aerial view in 1991 showing the red oval of the Kehoe Track atop Yates Field House


A view from north in 1960: Ellington Track is at bottom of photo; Kehoe Track is above the Med School and baseball field; and the wooden practice track at the top of the photo is adjacent to McDonough Gym























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