The English schools competitions build to the prestigious final late in the season. Athletes are entered for their school team to compete in an area championship. Each area then selects a team to compete against other areas in the County Championship. A team of athletes who meet the qualifying standard is then selected to represent the County at the English Schools finals.
The County Championships are open for residents of the county to enter and compete. After the Championships a team is selected to represent the county in one or more Inter Counties matches.
Open competitions allow athletes to pay to enter a competition under UKA rules. They are ideal for establishing accurate performance standard for new and returning athletes, or for trying for a qualifying standard for other events. There are two main types of open:
Age Group: Where competitors compete against athletes with and age group category
Graded: Where athletes of all ages compete against athletes with a similar personal best (PB)
One of the difficult things for new and returning athletes to do is to get officially recorded performance to enable selection for teams. Some events allow non-scoring athletes to participate to achieve this. In some cases non-scoring athletes must be declared beforehand, in others (such as the AVL) they can simply turn up on the day.
Sportshall is a frantic and fun way for U11, U13 and U15 athletes to compete indoors over the winter months. Athletics does not get more grassroots than Sportshall. Several international athletes including Morgan Lake started athletics in Sportshall. Even a few schools participate and it is probably the only athletics event in the country in which an athlete can start in a primary school hall and end up in a national final. Berkshire have been recent national champions in 2017.