Competition Guide

This is a short guide to Athletics Competition opportunities throughout the year. The main categories of Athletics Competition are described and briefly explained how they work. Athletes and Parents should ask their Coaches for further details.

Age Group Information:

Under 9: aged 7 or 8 on the day of the competition.

Under 11: All Year 5’s & Year 4’s who are 9 on competition day.

Under 13: School Year 6 & 7

Under 15: School Years 8 & 9

Under 17: School Years 10 & 11

Under 20: Sixth form age. Those born between Jan 1st and August 31st will also get a third year in U20’s while those born between September 1st and December 31st have two years only.

Senior: All other ages

Veteran: 5-year spaced age categories from V35+


Both in summer and winter Leigh Harriers compete in League Competitions. League competitions mean that the Leigh Harriers athletes compete for the Club and score points in their age groups against athletes from other clubs, on a set series of League Competition Dates.
Entries for the league (all of the meetings are covered by one fee per athlete) usually have to be confirmed and paid for in advance by a certain closing date.  It is vital that athletes who have been selected and have signed up for a League ensure that they attend the competition dates they have committed to, as participation will greatly affect the overall score for the club and the chances of promotion, or qualification for a higher level of competition, at the end of the League. It can mean that Leigh Harriers as a Club can be promoted to a Higher Division or relegated to a Lower Division in the League. In some cases winning a league, or competing well in your age group can mean a chance of selection for a higher level of competition on a personal level, such as County- or Regional or even National Competitions/Finals.

Usually the Team Manager can select 2 athletes from the Club to participate in each single event. And often there is a maximum number of events in which an athlete can participate per competition. All individual results in the UK Athletics affiliated League events – which excludes the unique Sports Hall Athletics League – will be noted on the Power-of-10 Website Athletes’ Profile and UK Rankings. All registered competing athletes have a personal profile on this website automatically and UK Rankings start from when they compete in the U13 age group.

Leigh Harriers compete in the following Leagues:

Spring & Summer:  Youth Development League (YDL), Northern League, Mid Lancashire League (all Track & Field Leagues), Central Lancashire Road Race Grand Prix (10 fixtures March-October)

Autumn & Winter:  Sports Hall Athletics League, Red Rose XC League, Mid Lancashire Cross Country League.

Youth Development League (YDL):

The Club fields teams in both the Lower YDL (U13 & U15) and Upper YDL (U17 & U20) Competitions. Team Managers can select two Athletes for each individual event plus relay teams and try to field the strongest possible team at every match, so participation is by selection. We like to do well in these leagues as a Club and expect selected Athletes to do their very best to compete when selected and support the Club and Team.

For each YDL fixture the Club has to provide a team of volunteer officials to help with the Match duties, each of which earns 5 critical points for the Club. So we will always appreciate offers of help.  YDL website is here.

Northern League:

A set of league competitions only aimed at age groups U17 and upwards. Usually 4 dates throughout the season. Again Team Managers can select two Athletes from their club per event. Athletes can participate in 3, 4.or more events plus a relay – depending on whether they are U17, U20, Senior& above. For each fixture the Club has to provide a team of volunteer officials to help with the Match duties, which earns critical points for the Club as well.

Sports hall Athletics League:

An indoor Athletics League with competitions taking place on 3 Sundays in the Autumn/Winter season each year, leading up to Christmas, in the regional Athletics Arena, Sportcity, Manchester. Only Athletes in the age groups U11-U15 and can compete in this Sports Hall Athletics League from different Clubs in Greater Manchester. Athletes can participate in 3 events and a relay and only 2 athletes can be selected in each age group per event.

The League competitions are followed by an open Championship meeting in January, after which Athletes from across the County, who participated, are selected and invited to represent Greater Manchester in a County Team in a Regional Championship usually early March. This meeting is then followed by a National Final in early April for those who have qualified through winning at Regional level.

Red Rose XC League:

A Cross Country League over 4 Saturdays in September – December with Age Groups starting from U11 right up to Seniors/Veterans.

Championship Competitions:

Many Athletes choose to compete in County, North of England or National Championships during the outdoor season. National Championships have entry standards but County & Northern Championships do not. In the winter Northern Athletics organizes indoor championships for U20 & U17, U15 & U13 age groups – these take place in EIS Sheffield.

Open & Medal Meetings:

During the Summer many Clubs organize Open Meetings that Athletes can enter individually or as directed by their Coach. Sometimes these have medals and sometimes the track races are seeded (arranged by personal best time rather than age or gender). Sometimes they offer entry on the day, however sometimes they are advance entry only. Trafford AC run a popular series of U15 Medal Meetings as well as a Tuesday evening Grand Prix Series for U17+ Athletes.

In the Winter there are Indoor Open competitions in Manchester (Sale Open Series) at the Regional Arena (Sportcity) and in Sheffield at the EIS (NA Start Fitness Indoor Open Series) Some Coaches might hand out details of Open Competitions but you can find info on the Clubhouse Noticeboards and the Northern Athletics / England Athletics websites.

English Schools Athletics Association (ESAA) Competitions:

The English Schools Athletics Championships in July are the most prestigious event of the year for Athletes in the Junior (Year 8 & 9), Inter (10 & 11) & Senior (Sixth Form) age groups. Athletes qualify for County Teams by achieving entry standards and good placings at the various County Schools Championships in June where Athletes compete for the District/County that their School is based in.

Additionally, the Mason Trophy is a prestigious Inter-Counties Championships held at Birmingham in June and a last opportunity to impress selectors for the English Schools. Many Athletes may also compete for their schools in local schools leagues, Quadrathlon Kids events, or the English Schools Cup (a team-based event not to be confused with the English Schools Championships).

The English Schools Combined Events County (Pentathlon, Heptathlon, Octathlon, Decathlon – depending on age group). Teams are made up of selected teams of 4 athletes per gender and age group, who compete at the North West of England Finals for a place in the National Final.

The ESAA has its own website, rules and entry standards for their competitions. HERE