Roger Bannister created one of the most memorable sporting events in history on 6 May 1954, when he broke the fabled “4 minute mile”. This landmark event was undertaken on the Oxford University track at Iffley Road. Since this moment, Iffley Road has been an iconic venue for all the University Athletes, so when the £39m redevelopment project was given the go ahead Abacus stepped in to deliver a unique solution for this important historical venue.
Oxford University required an easy maintenance floodlighting solution to meet specific planning restrictions due to the location of the Sports Complex next to a conservation area.
Patented Abacus telescopic masts were used to meet the Sports Complex’s lighting requirements. Developed for sports lighting projects, these unique floodlighting masts can be lowered when not in use, thereby minimising their daytime visual impact on the surrounding environment.
With a height of 18 metres being necessary for the floodlighting of the football pitch and a height of 10 metres required to light the athletics track, Abacus manufactured four 18 metre telescopic masts. With lights that are fixed at 10 metres for the athletics track and additional lights mounted on the telescopic arms which extend to 18 metres, both the football pitch and the athletics track are able to be used at the same time.
Abacus’ Challenger floodlights were fitted to the masts to provide low light pollution. They use compact double ended lamps to produce precise optical control combined with the latest generation of precision reflector systems to reduce overspill and direct light only where it is needed. Abacus’ Sports Lighting Manager, James Brunt, said: “This installation has benefits for the University, users and nearby residents of the Iffley Road Sports Complex. With the historical significance and success which Iffley Road has seen over the decades, our innovative telescopic mast provided the perfect solution. It delivers the exact lighting levels for both athletics and football, whilst being able to fit in with planning restrictions. We are delighted to have been part of this project.”
Jon Roycroft, Director of Sport at Iffley Road Sports Complex, said: “Abacus was always going to be our first choice of contractors for this project; firstly because of the quality of product, and secondly, because of their leading experience in installing sports pitch floodlighting in areas with challenging planning sensitivities. The team preparatory work and help, plus the end product, were all first class and meant that we have an exceptionally professional floodlight provision at the historic Iffley Road running track.”
The Olympic torch was taken around the track on 10 July 2012 to highlight the historical success here. In honour of its sporting history, members of the University have also been selected as official torchbearers as it travels throughout Oxford.