The Border League, is a development league for children beginning their athletic journey. It offers four cross country races during the winter months for boys and girls U9 (school years 3/ 4), U11 (years 5/ 6), U13 (years 7/ 8) and U15 (years 9 /10).
Our dedicated team of volunteers, whether school, club, athlete or parent enable nearly 1000 young athletes each year to compete and enjoy cross country .
It is supported by athletic clubs and schools from across Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire.
The focus is on nurturing new and developing athletes from affiliated clubs and schools, however, higher level athletes who have in any prior season run for the county (not county schools) in Cross country or any track event of 800m or over can still run in the Border League as a guest/non scorer. If an athlete is chosen during the current season to represent the county they may continue to score for this season only.
The league was originally set up by the late Mick Marlow (father and coach of International middle distance athlete Gary Marlow) as a Sunday morning race in the woods for his distance athletes instead of the regular Sunday morning training.
Word got round in the border area of Berks/Hants & Surrey of these races and firstly Fleet & Crookham AC’s distance race coach Dave Fearn, who was also treasurer at Bracknell AC, brought some of his athletes along. There were siblings and cousins watching so Mick opened the races to any family member to compete and the style of the league was born. Word spread and soon other local clubs joined. In 1977, Martin Goodway from Camberley agreed to look after the girls races. It was agreed to find other courses to increase the interest for the athletes based on the clubs who had joined the races.
At the end of each season medals were given to the top 6 athletes from each age group together with trophies and certificates, which continues today. In those days the design of the certificates given to each athlete was by athletes with a taste for drawing. These were given to any athlete who had competed in 3 out of 4 races if they have not won a medal so making sure that those determined ones received something to recognise their efforts.
It was decided early on that this league would be different to other leagues making it open to all athletes, especially those early in their racing development,. So, those who were good enough to compete for their county would not score in the races allowing the other members of the team to be recognised for their skills and hopefully with encouragement to represent their county one day.
Over the years here have been 20 different clubs/schools in the league which currently has 11 members, and a growing number of athletes. We have a dynamic leading group of league officers keen that the league should benefit from modern technology, without losing the ethos of grass roots competition.
Meetings are staged in rotation, with all member clubs/schools sharing responsibility for organisation and providing volunteers, with help from other members located nearby. The cost of running the league is kept to the minimum with clubs finding suitable venues that cost little or nothing.
How do I enter my child?
Use the contact page on our website to get in touch and we will direct you towards a local participating club