By Steve Bender
So much can be said about the quality of materials that went into the building of Fairhaven High School. So much can be said about the hand-craftsmanship, that is of museum quality, that is throughout the main building. It would be a well founded opinion there is no high school in the country that features such aesthetical beauty.
The 32-lap track above the “round gym” (now a library) was one of those hidden gems. During the winter months, it was difficult to find a facility to train the track team but the program was blessed to have the indoor track.
It was of the quality that is prevalent through out the “’old” building. It had a hand-crafted sub floor with lattice that had to be steamed for proper curve placement. On top of the lattice was a cork surface. Once again aesthetic and functional.
The track had two entrances. The back staircase, with a mahogany paneled wall that was peppered with photos of past FHS athletic teams. The other entrance/exit to the track was a spiral staircase that went to and from the gym floor. The spiral staircase was described by a former FHS runner as the same that was in a WW2 submarine. It’s somewhat of a comical analogy but it’s accurate.
Because of the banks and turns, the workouts were limited to running intervals (330 yards or six laps and 440’s or 8 laps). That doesn’t sound like much but when 6-8 intervals are run with a timed rest period, it was “grueling” as stated by a former 600 yard runner. The fire escape door on the first turn was left open in case of any abdominal discomfort.
Through “trial and error” it was determined that 220’s (4 laps) were somewhat hazardous because of the tight turns. Distances beyond 440’s wreaked havoc on the legs because of the banked turns.
There was no racing allowed because of the width of the track.
This may be somewhat technical to the average reader but those who ran workouts on the FHS indoor track there will relate and hopefully smile.
The workouts were spirited. Goals were set for groups pre-workout and the “leader of the pack” had to make sure he/she set the pace to meet that goal.
You could not use the track two days in a row because there had to be a physical recovery period.
When the runners would check out the posted workout in the morning, many times a slight depression would set in because the workouts were tough but at the end of the season, many runners would admit that the intervals run on the FHS indoor track were part of the training that helped them the most.
The 32 lap indoor track was also used by the Phys. Ed. classes. It was a healthy alternative to the activities provided for the classes.
The track is still above the library where the “round gym” was. It was resurfaced with a special linoleum in the late 80’s.
On reflection, it was a training facility that no other local school had. It was a factor in the success of the FHS Winter/Indoor Track teams from years gone by.