Cardiff AAC welcomes young athletes from the age of eleven.
If you are interested, come along, on a Monday or Thursday evening to the club room, which is situated on the first floor of the Cardiff International Sports Stadium, Leckwith Road, Cardiff and where the club secretary or other official will provide you with all the information you may need. Don’t expect to start training on your very first visit but take the time to gather information and sample the atmosphere, perhaps over a cup of tea from the club canteen.
Initially, young athletes join the “TRACK RATS” (Teaching Real Athletics to Cardiff Kids) (Mondays and/or Thursdays 6-7pm).
These sessions are designed to be fun and to provide a broad experience of different events (running, jumping, throwing), how to train properly and safely, warm-up and cool-down procedures and track etiquette. At the appropriate time Track Rats will progress to a specialist training group under one of the club’s qualified coaches.
New members, especially younger ones, often join the club with an interest in a particular discipline (say, sprinting) but find that, in fact, they are talented in a quite different discipline. Budding sprinters often find that they are good at hurdling or long jumping, or vice versa. This is the benefit of joining a wider group at the outset and before settling on a particular speciality.
The club meets regularly on Monday and Thursday evenings throughout the year, from 6pm until around 9pm, when we have exclusive use of the track facilities. The Track Rats meet at 6pm on Mondays and Thursdays. Specialist coaching sessions usually start around 7pm.
All coaching sessions, including Track Rats, are supervised by coaches who hold appropriate UK Athletics qualifications and have been CRB checked. All club coaches provide their services voluntarily as nobody involved in the club gets paid.
Track Rats that are new to the club pay £2 per session (which excludes entry to the stadium) but will be expected to join the club within the first month. Having joined they will only pay the stadium entrance fee. Junior athletes must compete for the club when selected.
Membership involves completing an official application form and paying the joining fee and first year’s subscription. New members receive a free training T-shirt but will need to purchase a club vest for competition. You will also need to register with Welsh Athletics (the sport’s governing body in Wales). All the necessary forms and guidance are available in the club room, where competition vests and other club branded athletic clothing and equipment may be purchased.
The annual costs of the club are high and include coach hire to competitions, track hire, competition entry fees, etc. so it is important that all subscriptions are paid on time.
Young athletes get competition with their schools and the club provides additional opportunities including important UK leagues and national championships.
Athletics takes place the whole year round, with cross country in the winter (September to April) and track and field events in the summer (April to August). There are indoor track and field events during the winter (mostly held at the Welsh National Indoor Athletic Centre [NIAC] at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cyncoed) and, for older runners, there are also road races and relays.
The main cross country event of the season is the Gwent Cross Country League which covers all age groups from under 11 (school year 4 & 5, minimum age 9) to seniors and is held at various venues in Wales and the West. Athletes are entered by the club but there is no limit on numbers.
There are also various cross country championships and inter regional competitions and teams are normally selected from the Gwent League and schools races. Cross country runners need to wear spiked shoes.
The indoor track and field events include open-to-all competitions and various championships. Athletes need to enter individually but guidance is always available from a club official.
During the summer, club teams take part in various leagues both in Wales and elsewhere in the UK. For juniors, the relevant competitions are:
Welsh Junior League: Under 11(years 4/5), Under 13(6/7), Under 15(8/9).
Cardiff AAC competes in the East Wales League along with clubs from Aberdare, Cwmbran, Newport, Hereford, Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda. Selection is made by the team manager with a “Run, Throw, Jump” approach. The club can select up to 6 athletes per race/throw/jump and each athlete may compete in three events plus a relay.
This is a great way to be introduced to competitive athletics with the emphasis on enjoyment and taking part in a variety of events. It is not a “win at all costs” competition.
Parents are expected to help out with our track and field officials (by raking the sand pit, etc.) and this can be a great way to enjoy the day.
There are four rounds spread over the season with a final In Brecon against the rest of Wales’ clubs.
National Development League (Junior): Under 13(6/7), Under 15(8/9).
This league takes in all the clubs of the UK and Cardiff AAC is in the Premier Division. This is a big step up from the Welsh Junior League. Four athletes (two boys and two girls) are selected for each event by the team manager. As this is a very important league, the best possible available team is selected and, if selected, athletes are expected to compete.
National Development League (Senior): Under 17(10/11), Under 20(12/13).
This is a new regionally based UK wide league for older athletes before they step up to senior competition. Three athletes (one in each age group plus one other) are selected for each event by the team manager. There is also a number of "guest" places available. As a new concept, the final guidelines are yet to be set. As this is a very important league, the best possible available team is selected and, if selected, athletes are expected to compete.
During the summer there are regional and Welsh national championships for all age groups and club members are encouraged to enter these. Entry to championships has to be made individually and there are deadlines to be met. Full details, including entry conditions, can be found by checking the club’s website and that of Welsh Athletics and the relevant organiser. Alternatively, ask your coach or a club official.
Open meetings are organised around Wales and these are a very useful source of competition for all age groups. Again, check with the various websites or ask.
The club organises transport by coach to most of the away league competitions and to help with the cost and to cover competition entry fees, a match fee is charged and is payable to the team manager on the day. Athletes are given all necessary details in their selection notices.
Athletics is a great sport and you will be welcome at Cardiff AAC. Come and join us - to make new friends, to get fit and to fulfil your talent. We have a long history and many of our past members who have won medals at the world championships or Olympic Games started out as a young schoolboy or girl. Who knows – you too could become one of the best; but, whatever happens, you will have a great time.
The club is run entirely by volunteers and we never have enough. Team managers, coaches, competition officials, helpers in the canteen, fund raising – we are a friendly team and do it for the love of it – can you help?
Cardiff AAC - Wales’ Premier Athletic Club