General Information for Juniors 2024

Training Sessions

Our training sessions are on Tuesdays late afternoons / early evenings.

In winter we train on the rugby fields at Leodiensian Club (Leos) off King Lane. They have floodlights so we are able to use the fields all year round, weather and ground conditions permitting. We have 3 timeslots – 4:45-5:25, 5:30-6:10 and 6:15-6:55. At each time slot we have up to 5 groups each with up to 12 junior members. The 5:30 slot is the most popular and is sometimes full. We have 5 activities and each group spends 7 minutes on each activity. The activities are a mix of speed, endurance and agility. The speed activities have plenty of rest in between each sprint but for the endurance activities we do expect them to run continuously for the 7 minutes perhaps with one or two short breaks. See https://www.valleystriders.org.uk/juniors-training-at-leos-2024/

In summer we train alternate weeks at Leos and Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL). The Leos sessions are as above. At GSAL we have 2 timeslots. In term time (6 weeks) our timeslots are 6:00-6:55 and 7:00-7:55. In school holidays (6 weeks) our timeslots are 5:30-6:25 and 6:30-7:25. We have 4 groups each with up to 12 junior members. The early timeslot is more popular and is often full. We have 4 activities and each group spends 10 minutes on each. The activities are usually sprints (80m or 100m), laps (400m), long jump and shot put. At the earlier timeslot we have a 5th group of younger children and they have similar activities (e.g. they use a shot-put action to throw beanbags). For 2024 we have booked 12 weeks between April and September. See https://www.valleystriders.org.uk/juniors-training-at-gsal-2024/

These sessions include a “competitive” group – secondary school children competing in cross country and road running – at the late timeslots. This group trains at Beckett Park on the second Tuesday in the month, at the Bodington cycle circuit (running not cycling!) on the fourth Tuesday in the month, and occasionally does road or trail running away from Leos on other Tuesdays. Children who are in the final year of primary school are invited into this group from April so they can get ready for the following cross country season.

We encourage attendance by presenting medals when our junior members reach 25, 50 and 100 training sessions.

Weather

If we have to reduce numbers at any session due to reduced space in bad weather or due to over-booking in really good weather(!), then we will offer an alternative timeslot to, or, in the worst case, de-select some of those who

  • are on trial sessions while on the waiting list
  • or have recently joined
  • or frequently cancel without giving notice
  • or neither run races as a Valley Strider nor run parkruns

Training calendar 2024

  • Leos sessions 4:45, 5:30, 6:15 unless otherwise indicated
  • GSAL sessions normally 6:00 and 7:00 but in holidays 5:30 and 6:30
  • January 2/9/16/23/30 all Leos
  • February 6/13/20/27 all Leos
  • March 5/12/19/26 all Leos
  • April 2 GSAL(hol), 9 Leos, 16 GSAL(hol), 23 Leos, 30 GSAL
  • May 7 Leos, 14 GSAL, 21 Leos, 28 GSAL (hol) (subject to change)
  • June 4 Leos, 11 GSAL, 18 Leos, 25 GSAL (subject to change)
  • July 2 Leos, 9 Leos, 16 GSAL(hol), 23 Leos, 30 GSAL (hol), NB Golden Acre Relays are in July, also possible session at Brownlee Centre
  • August 6 Leos, 13 GSAL(hol), 20 Leos, 27 GSAL (hol), also possible session at Brownlee Centre
  • September 3 Leos, 10 GSAL, 17/24 both Leos
  • October 1/8/15/22/29 all Leos
  • November 5/12/19/26 all Leos
  • December 3/10/17 all Leos, 27 in Roundhay Park 10a.m. to be confirmed, 31 ??

Competition

We encourage our junior members to participate in competition suitable for their ability. Competitions suitable for all are junior parkruns, local junior fun runs such as those associated with adult races at Pudsey, Eccup, Wetherby, Kirkstall and the Leeds Abbey Dash, and the “Peco” cross country league for local clubs. Our more experienced members are encouraged to take part in local track & field leagues, the West Yorkshire cross country league and higher level cross country. 15 of our junior members took part in the English National XC when it was at Harewood in 2019.

In spring/summer 2023, 86 juniors ran at least one parkrun, 77 ran in the Golden Acre Relays, 22 in the Eccup Junior races, 20 competed in at least one track & field meeting. In autumn/winter 2023/24, TBA ran at least one parkrun, 70 ran in at least one Peco XC race, 27 in at least one West Yorkshire XC race, 8 in Yorkshire XC championships, 9 in the National XC relays and 3 in indoor track & field

On the website is a list of events that we are recommending to our juniors for the current spring/summer season https://www.valleystriders.org.uk/events-for-juniors-spring-summer-2024 . The page for next autumn/winter isn’t available yet but you can see what we did last autumn/winter here https://www.valleystriders.org.uk/events-for-juniors-autumn-winter-2023-24

Junior Parkruns

Junior parkruns are 2km runs for ages 4 to 14, every Sunday morning at over 200 locations in the UK including 6 locations in Leeds – Bramley, Bodington (Brownlee Centre), Cross Flatts, Horsforth Hall, Roundhay and Templenewsam. They are suitable for all abilities and free to enter. We see these as a great opportunity for prospective members to gain experience of running and hope that all of our members run these frequently (at least once a month).

Here’s the link to Roundhay Junior Parkrun https://www.parkrun.org.uk/roundhay-juniors/ and there is a link on the page to register. Registering at one event gives registration across all events (anywhere in the world!)

Adult parkruns are 5km for ages 11 and above, on Saturday mornings, similar arrangements.

Junior members should set their parkrun account so that the results will show their club name as “Valley Striders AC”. This is how do to it

• Click on https://www.parkrun.com/signin/
• Input the parkrun ID (usually 7 digits)
• If you don’t know your password, you can click to request a password recovery email
• Click on “Groups”
• Input “Valley Striders AC” (it will auto-fill, but don’t select any of the other Valley Striders clubs, especially “Meanwood Valley Striders”, it’s not us)
• Scroll down to look at Group Memberships
• If you can see more than one group listed, then, against Valley Striders AC, click “Make Primary”

England Athletics

We register all our junior members with England Athletics.

Most of them are registered as Social Athletes. There is no charge for this. This entitles them to be on the E.A. mailing list from which they will get promotional information about National Athletics events (including discounts on tickets) and from E.A. sponsors (with discounts on products). You can opt out of emails.

Around 15% of our junior members are registered as Competitive Athletes for which there is an affiliation fee – currently £21p.a. for the E.A. year which runs from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025. Competitive Athlete status is needed for West Yorkshire Cross Country League and West Yorkshire Track & Field League (both for school year 6 and above), and for all Yorkshire County, Northern Athletics and English National competitions. It is also required for all open races – these have a minimum age of 11 on race day.

Competitive Athlete status is not needed for school years 3/4/5 entering West Yorkshire events and Open Track & Field meetings but these may ask for an England Athletics number.

Competitive Athlete status is not needed for junior “fun” runs (e.g. Eccup Junior races and Golden Acre Relay), Peco XC League, junior parkrun and “adult” parkrun. These will not normally ask for an England Athletics number.

Parents

It is a requirement that all parents remain on site during the training session or they nominate another parent at the session to be responsible for their child.

We are entirely dependent on parents to lead or assist leading the groups of 12, but understand that many are not keen to do this. But all parents can get involved without the responsibility of leading, e.g. by joining in the session if required (e.g. to make up a team for a relay) and/or standing on the sidelines to observe the activities.

Age Range

We normally have a minimum age of 8, but younger children will be invited to try our sessions if they are running regularly at junior parkrun and/or are younger siblings of members.

For juniors aged 15 to 17, we support their move to the one of the two adults training groups both of which also meet on a Tuesday evening.

Cost

Currently £40 per year. This covers one training session per week, all year round including school holidays, weather and ground conditions permitting.

Benefits

Entry fees are paid by the club for Peco Relays and Golden Acre Relays. Members who run Peco cross country races get the value of these entry fees as a discount on their membership if they renew the following year. Other races are also included in this scheme, and for Eccup Junior Races members get a full discount and for Wetherby and Abbey Dash junior races members get a partial discount.

Club Kit

T-shirts and vests are available to try and buy on a Tuesday evening. Note that payment for these items are to a different account to that for membership.

Club hoodies can be ordered from PB Teamwear https://pbteamwear.co.uk/collections/valley-striders There is an option to have a name or initials embroidered on the front.

Waiting List

We do have a waiting list for the junior group. Please note it isn’t first in first out; we take into account a number of factors including recent activity in athletics and, in particular, running. There is an application form / questionnaire to fill in for those who are interested. http://www.valleystriders.org.uk/contact-us

Parents of juniors on the waiting list may join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/369749209844475/ This is a closed group, only visible by parents of members, parents of prospective members and some of our club committee.

During 2023 we found that the demand for the middle timeslot at Leos and the early timeslot at GSAL was much higher than the other timeslots; we may have to limit attendance at some timeslots e.g. by not allowing access to those who are on the waiting list or who have recently joined. However we are able to offer spaces on a week-by-week basis when general demand is low e.g. school holidays.

Contact Us

To contact us, click on this link https://www.valleystriders.org.uk/contact-us/ and select “Juniors” from the drop-down.