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About Athletics


Hundreds of thousands of people across England are involved in athletics. In many different ways it really is the most exciting, diverse and vibrant sport there is.
The range of disciplines across the track, field, road and off-road provides an incredible diversity of events for different people with different skills and abilities which means that it is impossible to stereotype what it means to be an athlete. For other people athletics is about fitness and participation but the range of age groups, events, competitions and clubs means that athletics really is a truly inclusive sport.


The competition requires athletes to run faster, throw further, jump higher and leap longer than their rivals. With 2,000 athletes competing in 47 events, Athletics was the largest single sport at the London 2012 Games. The winning margins can be tiny. Athletics is such a technical sport that every aspect of athletes’ performances must be perfect on the day to ensure they finish ahead of their rivals. Even the smallest of mistakes or loss of strength or technique can result in the loss of a fraction of a second or centimetre.
For many athletics provides the ultimate challenge to their competitive abilities.
In Action!
Rules at a glance

There are four main strands to the Athletics competition:

1. Track events: can be divided into sprints, middle distance and long distance events, as well as those that include obstacles such as the Hurdles and Steeplechase. The track also hosts men’s and women’s Relays.

2. Field events: can be divided into throwing (for example, Shot Put) and jumping (High Jump).

3. Combined events: are a combination of both track and field. These are the Decathlon for men (10 events) and the Heptathlon for women (seven events).

4. Road events: Marathon and Race Walks.
Athletes can be penalised for a variety of infringements – a false start on the track, a dropped baton or illegal changeover in the relays, a foot fault in the jumps or throws, or an illegal technique in the race walks.

Useful links




England Athletics

Telephone:0121 713 8499

London Contacts

Club and Coach Support Officers

Sarah Wade (Central & South London) - 07718 526 355

Elspeth Turner (Kent inc. London Boroughs & Sussex) - 07915 072 558

Neil Deans (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & Middlesex) - 07824 302936

Maddy Smith (Essex inc. London Boroughs) - 07725 457 595

Rhian Horlock (Run! Project Manager) - 07850 514 938

Alison O'Riordan (Disability Athletics Support Officer) - 07718 394 335


 General Enquiries:


You can get in touch by email or telephone: or 0121 347 6543.
For competition enquiries please contact

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Monday to Thursday: 0800 – 1800
Friday: 0800 – 1700