VMAX makes Lithuanian athletes faster
30. March 2021
The Lithuanian Indoor Track and Field Championships in Klaipėda in February 2021 saw the five best results of the season. In addition, triple jumper Diana Zagainova and hurdler Rapolas Saulius were able to meet the norm times for the European Championships. A success factor for the good results was not least the new running track with Vmax high-tech material from CONICA AG.
The Lithuanian Indoor Athletics Championship is organized by the Athletics Federation of Lithuania and serves as the national championship of the country. The last competitions were always held in Klaipėda. The history of the competition dates back to 1948, when the first championship was held. After the end of the Soviet Union and the restoration of the state of Lithuania, a Lithuanian national championship was held again for the first time in 1990.
The following track and field disciplines are standard on the program of the Lithuanian Indoor Championships:
– Sprint: 60 m, 200 m, 400 m
– Track and field distance events: 800 m, 1500 m, 3000 m
– Hurdles: 60 m hurdle race
– Steeplechase: 1500 m and 2000 m
– Jumping: Long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault.
– Throwing: Shot put
– All-around: heptathlon (men), pentathlon (women)
– Racewalking: 5000 m walk (men), 3000 m walk (women)
Also competing was Diana Zagainova, Lithuania’s triple jump star. On June 30, 2019, Diana Zagainova broke the Lithuanian record in La Chaux-de-Fonds with a mark of 14.43m (+ 1.8m/s). She improves her personal best by 30 centimeters and adds 17 centimeters to the previous national record set by Dovilė Dzindzaletaitė 12 days earlier. Diana Zagainova is going to the Olympic Games and trains daily on a CONICA track.
Diana Zagainova, who won the Olympic ticket in 2019, triumphed in the women’s triple jump with 13.68 m, improving the current season record set by Dovile Kilty by one centimeter. Diana Zagainova was satisfied: “This is a good feeling. I enjoy competing here. I love Lithuania, our spectators, everyone supports us. The impressions are good, I am very happy to improve my jumps on the new track surface. I want to continue preparing for the Olympics now and aim for jumps beyond the 14-meter mark again after the end of the winter training camp in Valencia.”
Diana Zagainova, Did you compete for the first time on a CONICA Vmax track in Klaipeda?
What is your impression of it?
My and several other athletes impression about the surface – it’s a bit softer, but not too soft. It absorbs the force power, but also give back the energy like a catapult, it has some kind of spring properties. The surface is just perfect for jumpers. This kind of surface is my favorite! It’s not too hard and you can do everyday training there, you don’t feel pain in the knees after everyday sessions, there’s a smaller risk of getting injuries. But this surface is also very good for competitions!
Can you describe how the surface changes on your run-up before the jump?
I have felt acceleration power while running on Conipur Vmax, it’s like the surface is throwing you. We, athletes, call it “ the surface lifts you” effect.
How much faster can the new running track surface make you, and how big do you estimate the potential in centimeters for your jumping distance?
Every detail matter in the professional sport. Especially, if we talk about high level results, really big jumps, records. It is very important if the athlete is physically prepared, even weather conditions matter. Of course, the track condition is one of the most important things what brings the result. Even more, sometimes athletes try to come back to the events if they liked the track, hoping to reach high results, broke records. It is very difficult to calculate exact difference in millimeters or milliseconds, but I can ensure, track does huge matter!
Hurdler Rapolas Saulius was also satisfied with his performance. He ran the 60m hurdles in 7.88 seconds. That was exactly the time needed to participate in the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland. Rapolas Saulius is only the seventh Lithuanian to participate in this championship. “I had tried to meet the norm time at several competitions. At the beginning I ran 7.91 seconds in Ghent in Belgium, but now, fortunately, I ran the 7.88 seconds. I am very happy about that. Now at the European Championships I just want to achieve the best possible result.” The athlete also improved his personal record with the result – and that after a five-year break.
Rapolas Saulius, did you compete for the first time on a CONICA Vmax track in Klaipeda?
It was my first time running on the CONICA Vmax track.
What is your impression of it?
CONICA Vmax track feels softer compared with the previous one in Klaipėda. At the same time, it is quite hard which is great for competitions. This new track did not require a lot of adjusting time because of its moderate Catapult effect. It allowed me to just concentrate on my running and achieve great results. In conclusion, the track is really fast and comfortable.
Can you describe how the surface affects your running?
Personally, the track felt great and had fast friction. I could overcome hurdles easier and maintain speed on the track.
How much faster can the new running track surface make you?
CONICA Vmax hard track can significantly improve my running – allows me to exceed my potential and advance my results by a few valuable milliseconds.
The Vmax surface is the basis for top athletic performance
The good results in Klaipėda are based not only on the performance of the athletes but also, and not least, on the newly installed high-tech material Conipur Vmax laid by Conica AG. The Vmax running track supports sprinters in their motion sequence. For the athlete’s running sensation and performance, it is important that the track is not too soft or too hard. Too soft would absorb too much energy, too hard in turn does not develop enough catapult effect and leads more easily to injuries. The prerequisite for optimum hardness is the two-layer structure of the track with top and base layers. These are not laid but cast.
Saulius Sejunas from Conica, Regional Sales Director Northern Europe: “The top layer has a viscoelastic (stiff) surface. This ensures that the athlete’s energy is directed in the right direction. Underneath this is the base layer. Its function is to act as a force stabilizer. It hardly absorbs any of the athlete’s energy, but returns it directly to the athlete with the help of compression. This results in a fast and defined forward movement of the athlete. This results in lower energy consumption in the start & sprint phase and allows the sprinter to achieve highest running performance until the finish.” Conica believes that thanks to Vmax, sprinters’ speed can be increased by up to ten percent. This has been shown by research conducted in collaboration with the Cologne Sports University.
Another advantage of the Vmax running track is its stability with low deformation. This protects the musculoskeletal system and enables athletes to run in a stable manner – an important factor in competition in close proximity with competitors, for example, to help avoid stumbles or falls on contact. It should be added that Conica has chosen a differentiated system design that distinguishes between the acceleration phase at the start and the holding phase during sprinting. This probably achieves the currently fastest possible setting of a running track system on the short distance (100 m).
German Sport University Cologne has tested the running track
Dr. Steffen Willwacher works at the Institute for Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the German Sport University Cologne and has tested Vmax. He comes to the following conclusion: “Both from our applied material tests and from the biochemical tests we conducted with a top athlete, we found that the Vmax running track provides a condition that enables fast running – especially in the acceleration phase. Runners can better apply horizontal forces on Vmax, thereby increasing speed more quickly and ultimately achieving higher speeds.”
Vmax has undergone all necessary technical testing and certification: IAAF certification, EN 14877, DIN 18035, ASTM 2157, as well as biomechanical testing at the Cologne Sports University (certification Reference Project Class I, II).
Records without end
Just how fast the new track is was shown by the world record set by Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda last year at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, where the Conica material Conipur Vmax is also used. He broke the world record over the 5000m distance, which had stood for 16 years, with a time of 12:35.36 minutes. Since the reopening of the track, other top performances and records have been achieved: 11 world top performances, 9 national records, 3 regional records, 2 Diamond League records and 3 Herculis Monaco records.