Club training and competitions

The main training sessions for Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow Athletic Club are held at the Thames Valley Athletic Centre in Eton on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

The centre is hired by the club for the exclusive use of members on those evenings. It features a high quality 8 lane all-weather track, and excellent field event facilities. It also has an indoor facility with a 6 lane 60m sprint straight and provision for long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot put, discus and pole vault, which is available to the club between October and April.

Many club coaches run additional sessions for their training groups on other days, either at Thames Valley Athletic Centre or at other locations across the area. Please see the list of coaches below for more details.

We are a friendly and competitive club, who compete in competitions throughout the whole year. In spring/summer this is mainly track & field and in autumn/winter this includes road running, cross country and indoor track & field.

See below for more details on the competitions we compete in.

“My coach always made me feel like anything was possible…..and it was…..now I’ve retired from athletics, it still is !” An athlete. Still holder of two UK age group records.

“At the club I like that I get to train with a variety of athletes, I have plenty of competition opportunities and it is a quality track to run on”. An athlete.

“My coach is very encouraging and it gives me the opportunity to run for my own enjoyment and improvement”. An athlete.

“Coaching at WSEH AC is incredibly rewarding, working with so many other dedicated volunteers to enable the club to offer such a large choice of training and competition opportunities to our club members”. A WSEH AC coach.

“It’s rewarding working with the athletes, being a part of their journey to be the best they can be. To help guide them through athletics equipping them with the life skills of time management, to study, train and compete. Helping to develop their social skills and self confidence. To see them transition from shy individuals to team players supportive of their fellow team mates and enjoy being a member of WSEH. Truly a privilege”. A WSEH AC coach.

“Coaching isn’t just about helping individuals to become better athletes, it’s about creating an environment where athletes can become more complete individuals……..the skills and disciplines developed in a training environment set one up to better deal with life’s challenges”. A WSEH AC coach.

“My reason for coaching is that it is my ‘wealth’. Some people may think in terms of money and possessions as wealth but, for me, waking up in the morning knowing that I have provided a group of young people the support to grow and thrive is much more valuable”. A WSEH AC coach.

“A good coach can always, within reason, get someone to be fitter and run faster/jump further or higher/throw further.  That person if they join the club deserves the same treatment and get the same coaching as the top athlete, in fact probably more so”. A WSEH AC coach.

“I found the club extremely welcoming from the start and since I joined they have been really supportive. The venue is a superb one to coach in, the facilities are excellent and the commitment and enthusiasm of the athletes is brilliant”. A WSEH AC coach.

See below for information on athletics age groups and details of our coaches.

Seasons and Competitions

We are a competitive athletic club and view athletic competitions as a priority for our athletes to both enjoy competing for the club in team-based events and to be a key part of their own development, especially for juniors.

We also view athletic competitions as a great opportunity for our volunteers and parents to enjoy being part of the club and contributing to our performance at them.

There are a range of competitions for all standards and ages of athletes, from local leagues and open meetings to county, regional and national championships.

We compete in competitions throughout the whole calendar year. In the summer competition year, (1st April to 30th September), this is mainly track & field and in the winter competition year, (1st October to 31st March), this includes road running, cross country and indoor track & field. The club therefore races all year round, so for many members who are runners, they have a 12-month competition year to race and compete for the club.

In the summer competition year, (1st April to 30th September), we compete in the following inter club team-based leagues in track & field:

National Athletics League – where we are proud to be one of the top sixteen clubs in the country, who compete in the Premiership Division and finished 5th last time

Southern Athletics League – for seniors, under 20s and under 17s, where we are one of the sixteen clubs who compete in the top division, which we won in 2019 and were 2nd in 2021

Youth Development League – two competitions, one for under 20s and under 17s and one for under 15s and under 13s, which are an excellent part of our athlete’s development

Alder Valley League – for under 11s, under 13s, under 15s and under 17s, which provides an excellent opportunity for development of beginner athletes

In addition to this there are ‘open meetings’. These tend to be hosted by athletic clubs and area athletic bodies. Most open meetings are designed for athletes to compete as individuals to try to improve their personal best times and distances / win medals and trophies. They are also a way of gaining entry standards for championships and other competitions. Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow Athletic Club view open meetings as another key part of an athlete’s development, especially for juniors. NB: some are open to athletes of any age and standard and others require qualification standards to be met before an entry will be accepted.

In addition to all this, for members individually, there are County Championships and in the upper echelons of the sport there are Regional Championships and National Championships.

On top of all this, there are English Schools competitions. Local, county and national championships are an opportunity for all our juniors (athletes in school years 7 to 13) to represent their school and then potentially their county by progressing through qualification rounds, regional events and national finals. Competitions run throughout the whole calendar year, including track & field and cross country.

In the winter competition year, (1st October to 31st March), we compete in the following inter club team-based competitions:

South of England (SEAA) Road Relays

National Road Relays

South of England (SEAA) Cross Country Relays

National Cross Country Relays

Southern (SEAA) Cross Country Championships

National Cross Country Championships

Chiltern Cross Country League

Athletes can also compete individually in County Cross Country Championships and from there, Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships.

In addition to this there are indoor track & field ‘open meetings’. Most open meetings are designed for athletes to compete as individuals to try to improve their personal best times and distances / win medals and trophies. Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow Athletic Club view indoor track & field as another key part of an athlete’s development, especially for juniors.

Age Groups

The age groups for athletics competitions can be confusing and coaches and club officials are often asked how they work, so we hope this summary explains them.

The current athletics ‘competition year’ run from 1st October 2021 to 30th September 2022.

Within this, the summer competition year runs 1st April 2022 to 30th September 2022 and the winter competition year runs 1st October 2021 to 31st March 2022.

Juniors (i.e. under 13/under 15/under 17 athletes) move into their new age groups on the 1st of October every year.

Under 13 boys and girls

School years 6 and 7 – for summer track & field season 2022

School years 7 and 8 – for winter road running, cross country and indoor track & field season 2022/2023

Under 15 boys and girls

School years 8 and 9 – for summer track & field season 2022

School years 9 and 10 – for winter road running, cross country and indoor track & field season 2022/2023

Under 17 men and women

School years 10 and 11 – for summer track & field season 2022

School years 11 and 12 – for winter road running, cross country and indoor track & field season 2022/2023

NB: historically, England Athletics have always designated under 17’s as men and women, rather than boys and girls, even though they are still juniors.

Under 20’s men and women

Anyone who was 17, 18 and 19 as of 31st December 2021, will be under 20’s for the competition year 1st October 2021 to 30th September 2022.

Seniors

Athletes making the transition from juniors to seniors is a key event in their development and often follows athletes having had a great time training and competing as a junior. Representing your club for the first time as a senior is a proud moment and ahead lies a great future of being an athlete during what is regarded as an athlete’s peak years.

Seniors are men and women who are at least 20 as of 31st December 2021.

Masters

Masters are athletes who are at least 35 years of age on the day of competition.

NB: Under 11’s

UK Athletics rules do not specifically cater for athletes under the age of 11 years. This does not mean they cannot compete but if competition organisers put on events for under 11’s, the distances run are likely to be reduced and lighter implements will be used. (Under 11 athletes will mainly be in school years 4 and 5).