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Competition Disciplines

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Our sport is highly diverse and offers various events and disciplines, so no matter your level of ability you’re sure to find an event for you! There are 5 main areas of Athletics; Track & Field, Cross Country, Road Running, Trail, and Mountain & Fell.


Track & Field:

Track & Field encompasses the key components of running, jumping and throwing. The majority of track & field competitions are held in the summer season, with indoor fixtures being held in the winter months.

  • On the track, there are various race distances varying from sprints to long-distance, and hurdles to steeplechase, race walking, and relay races.
  • On the field, there are throwing and jumping events these include; long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, along with the throwing events; hammer, shot, javelin, discus and in disability events, the club throw.

Athletics events on the world stage, such as the Olympics, Paralympics and World Championships inspire many to get involved in athletics, including children and young people. Within competitions events are modified for younger age groups, to ensure that they are more appropriate for their stages of development and to give them the best opportunities to participate in the sport. Check out our children & young people’s page for information on how to get involved in athletics

With so many events to get involved it can be hard to choose which event to do, so why look into taking part in combined events such as heptathlon and decathlon where athletes compete to win points at a range of events. We would always encourage young children to experience a variety of events within their clubs to enable them to build athleticism and ensure that the fundamental skills are developed from a young age.

Race Walking:

Race walking is a technical endurance event contested at all levels of athletic competition from Schools right up to the Olympics. Races take place both on the track and the road and cover a range of distances. Please see our Race Walking page for more information.

Cross Country:

Cross country races take place in the winter season and are held off-road on varying terrains. As no cross country course is the same, there are no rankings for any of the distances, although times are usually taken.  Many clubs across Wales are involved in cross country leagues and take part in our national championships, there are also opportunities to take part in open events around the UK.

Road Running:

Road running is hugely popular and is accessible to all. The excitement of having some of the worlds best athletes competing alongside club runners and recreational runners, as there are at the Cardiff Half Marathon, is something that would rarely happen in other sports.

Road races vary in distances, whilst there are standard distances such as 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon, there are also shorter distances from the mile up to ultra-distance events.

Race licensing for events held under UKA Rules of Competition is done through runbritain. Checking a race is licensed by UKA means it is covered by the appropriate licensing conditions and that performances are eligible for rankings purposes. Results appear on runbritain / Power of 10 rankings


Trail races include a variety of event types, they are held predominantly along footpaths, bridleways and towpaths over which there is a public right of way. Trail races may also take place on private or other land where the necessary consent for the event to take place has been given.

Trail races can be of any length with their length and the total climb measured using resources such as accurately scaled maps, such as Ordnance Survey maps, or GPS systems.

In ‘Supported Races’ a runner can have support from a team, such as friends, family or others who are permitted to give competitors refreshments or provide changes of clothing along the course in accordance with the event’s rules. ‘Self Sufficiency Races’ require competitors to carry everything they need, except that in ultra-distance races and in hot weather the organiser may provide water at intervals to prevent dehydration. ‘Kanter Races’ require runners to choose their own routes using trails and visiting check points along the route which are given as grid references on Ordnance Survey maps. ‘Staged Races’ are those where the course is broken into separate stages with rests at the end of each stage. The times of each runner are aggregated to determine the winner. ‘Extreme Races’ are self-sufficiency races of over 100km that include a section most competitors will run at night.

Mountain & Fell:

We have a long tradition of mountain & fell running in Wales, and we have hosted the World Mountain Running Championships 2015 in Betws Y Coed. Mountain running is recognised internationally by the IAAF and takes place primarily off-road terrain on well-defined routes which require no navigation or route choice.

Fell running races can be held over a wide range of distances including ultra-distances. Courses are graded into categories with the grading determined by the race distance and severity of climb. In some races, rather than a set course, competitors can choose their own route between check points. Fell running can see runners tackling very tough terrain. They can be held over long distances and in potentially volatile difficult weather conditions. As such it is essential that competitors choose races appropriate to their ability and experience, adhere to all safety requirements stipulated by event organisers. As many A Category races may prove hazardous, they should only be attempted by those with the necessary experience to cope with the adverse conditions that may occur in remote mountain locations.