Recommended maximum distance for Cross Country competitions for young athletes

Women's start at Seville-Italica International Cross Country

Competition organisers should use these distances as guidelines and ensure that any competition offered provides the appropriate distances and activities for the level of athlete present. This should take into consideration their physical and developmental age.

School yearAgeAge groupRecommended
maximum distance
Distance increments
Year 37-8 1200m
Year 48-9 1600m+400m
Year 59-10 2000m+400m
Year 610-11 2500m+500m
Year 711-12Under 133500m+1000m (over 2 years)
Year 812-13 3500m
Year 913-14Under 155000m+1500m (over 2 years)
Year 1014-15 5000m
Year 1115-16Under 176500m+1500m (over 2 years)
Year 1216-17 10,000m
Year 1216-17Under 1810,000m+3500m (over 2-3 years)
Year 1317-18Under 2010,000m
University18-19 10,000m

Recommended guidelines (primary to secondary)

Please note that the U13 – U17 age groups differ in terms of school years for Track & Field and Cross Country competitions. This is due to when the age groups change, with Track & Field changing at the end of the competition year and Cross Country (CC) changing at the start of the competition year.

An example of this is: An U13 Track & Field athlete would be a maximum age of 12 years at 31 August for the upper age group, but an U13 Cross Country athlete could be 13 on the 1 September.

Apply for a licence

Use our online form to apply for a Cross Country licence