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Get ready to dust off your running shoes! There aren’t many excuses for not giving athletics a try; most of the events in this sport simply require you to travel a certain distance or throw something using your own two arms and legs - no fancy equipment or training needed. The oldest of all sports, athletics hasn’t gone out of style since the Ancient Egyptian times and is one of the most watched events in the Olympic Games.

How does it work?

Athletics involves competitive running, jumping and throwing. In today’s modern times, a large number of athletic sports take place in a stadium, on a track or on a field. These include: Running (sprints, middle distance races, long distance races of various lengths) Hurdles (a race involving jumping over obstacles) Relays (a race involving 4 team members passing a baton and each running a leg of the race) Jumps (long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault) *Throws (Shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw)

If you can’t get to a track though, cross country running and road running are good alternatives (your run doesn’t have to be 26 miles long like the marathon that graces our TV screens once a year!). The idea of cross country running might conjure up scarring images of freezing PE lessons, but taking part in the sport without it being sandwiched between Maths and Chemistry may just reveal to you a way to reduce stress, keep fit and enjoy the outdoors. All this with the added benefit of not breaking the bank...

There are lots of athletics clubs around the country you can join to really unleash your competitive side. Good running trainers are a must, as you don’t want to do yourself any damage by tripping up in unsuitable shoes or not supporting your joints enough.

Is it for me?

Yes, if you want to get back to the basics and work up a sweat! Athletics isn’t a gentle exercise option, but it will get your heart rate going and deliver results. Thanks to the 2012 Olympic Games, athletics is fast growing in popularity - there’s never been a better time to get involved in a sport that’s lasted the test of time.

Good to know

Men and women tend to compete separately in athletics, due to differing strength and fitness levels.

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