AAA Championships

The AAA Championships was an annual track and field competition organised by the Amateur Athletic Association of England. It was the foremost domestic athletics event in the United Kingdom during its lifetime. It was succeeded by the British Athletics Championships.

AAA Championships
SportTrack and field
CountryEngland/United Kingdom


The competition was founded in 1880, replacing the Amateur Athletic Club (AAC) Championships, which had been held since 1866. Initially a men-only competition, a Women's AAA Championships was introduced in 1922 with the first proper WAAA Championships in 1923 and organised by the Women's Amateur Athletics Association until 1992, at which point it was folded into the Amateur Athletics Association.[1] During the 1920s and early 1930s, the AAA Championships was Europe's most prestigious athletics event until the European Athletics Championships were inaugurated in 1934.[2] Events were contested and measured in imperial units until metrification in 1969, in line with international standards.[3]

Though organised by the English governing body, it was open to all athletes from the United Kingdom, and also to overseas athletes. It served as the de facto British Championships, given the absence of such a competition for most of its history. It was typically held over two or three days over a weekend in July or August. Foreign athletes were no longer allowed to compete from 1998 onwards (with the change first being trialled in 1996), though they were still allowed to participate (but not formally placed) in the 10,000 m and marathon events.[3]

The creation of the UK Athletics Championships in 1977 under the British Amateur Athletic Board (later British Athletics Federation) marked a challenge to the event's domestic supremacy, though the quality of that rival event declined after it hosted the 1980 Olympic trials and it ceased as an annual championships after 1993, closing completely after 1997.[4] The AAA Championships incorporated the UK Olympic every four years from 1988 to 2004.[5] The women's WAAA Championships was folded into the AAA Championships in 1988.[1]

The establishment of UK Athletics in 1999 to serve as the national governing body for professional, elite athletics ultimately started the decline of the AAA Championships. UK Athletics took over the role of both national championships and international team selection with its own British Athletics Championships from 2007 onwards.[3] The AAA Championships ceased to be a stand-alone event in its own right from that point onwards, though it re-emerged in 2016 in being co-held with the English Athletics Championships organised by England Athletics (a body for developing the grassroots level beneath UK Athletics).[6][7][8]

The long-distance track events, marathon, racewalking events and combined track and field events were regularly held outside of the main track and field championship competition. Although the competition venue varied over the years, there were several locations that served as regular hosts over its history: Stamford Bridge (1886 to 1931), White City Stadium (1932 to 1970), Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (1971 to 1987) and Alexander Stadium (1984 to 2003).[5]


The following athletics events featured as standard on the main AAA Championships programme:

  • Sprint: 100 m, 200 m, 400 m
  • Distance track events: 800 m, 1500 m, 5000 m
  • Hurdles: 100 m hurdles, 110 m hurdles, 400 m hurdles, 3000 m steeplechase
  • Jumps: long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault
  • Throws: shot put, discus, hammer, javelin

The following events were regularly held, but often outside of the main programme:

Races were contested, and field events measured, in yards and feet up until 1968. A men's 3000 metres was contested from 1989 to 1999. A men's 10-mile run was held from 1960 to 1972. The 220 yards hurdles was present form 1952 to 1962.[5] On the women's side, the 2000 metres steeplechase was held in 2002 and 2003 before moving to the standard 3000 m distance. The 80 metres hurdles was contested until 1968 before being replaced by the new international standard 100 metres hurdles. The women's 200 metres hurdles was on the programme from 1961 to 1972. A 60 metres event was available from 1935 to 1950.[1] A variety of relay races were contested by clubs prior to 1960.


# Year Date Venue Stadium Notes
1880LondonLillie Bridge Grounds
1883LondonLillie Bridge Grounds
1884BirminghamAston Lower Grounds
1886LondonStamford Bridge
1889LondonStamford Bridge
1891ManchesterOld Trafford
1892LondonStamford Bridge
1893NorthamptonCricket Ground
1895LondonStamford Bridge
1897ManchesterFallowfield Stadium
1898LondonStamford Bridge
1899WolverhamptonMolineux Stadium
1900LondonStamford Bridge
1901HuddersfieldFartown Ground
1902LondonStamford Bridge
1904RochdaleAthletic Grounds
1905LondonStamford Bridge
1906LondonStamford Bridge
1907ManchesterFallowfield Stadium
1908LondonWhite City Stadium
1909LondonStamford Bridge
1910LondonStamford Bridge
1911LondonStamford Bridge
1912LondonStamford Bridge
1913LondonStamford Bridge
1914LondonStamford Bridge
Not held 1915 to 1918 due to World War I
1919LondonStamford Bridge
1920LondonStamford Bridge
1921LondonStamford Bridge
1922LondonStamford Bridge
1923LondonStamford Bridge
1924LondonStamford Bridge
1925LondonStamford Bridge
1926LondonStamford Bridge
1927LondonStamford Bridge
1928LondonStamford Bridge
1929LondonStamford Bridge
1930LondonStamford Bridge
1931LondonStamford Bridge
1932LondonWhite City Stadium
1933LondonWhite City Stadium
1934LondonWhite City Stadium
1935LondonWhite City Stadium
1936LondonWhite City Stadium
1937LondonWhite City Stadium
1938LondonWhite City Stadium
1939LondonWhite City Stadium
Not held 1940 to 1945 due to World War II
1946LondonWhite City Stadium
1947LondonWhite City Stadium
1948LondonWhite City Stadium
1949LondonWhite City Stadium
1950LondonWhite City Stadium
195114–15 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
195221–22 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
195311–12 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
195410–11 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
195516–17 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
1956LondonWhite City Stadium
1957LondonWhite City Stadium
195811–12 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
1959LondonWhite City Stadium
196015–16 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
196114–15 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
196213–14 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
196312–13 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
196410–11 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
19659–10 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
19668–9 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
196714–15 JulyLondonWhite City Stadium
196812–13 JulyLondonWhite City StadiumImperial distance events replaced with metric distances
Women's 3000 m held in Crawley
19691–2 AugustLondonWhite City Stadium
19707–9 AugustLondonWhite City Stadium
197123–24 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
197214–15 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
197313–14 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
197412–13 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
19751–2 AugustLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
197613–14 AugustCwmbranCwmbran Stadium
197722–23 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
197823–24 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
197913–14 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
19805–6 SeptemberLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
19817–8 AugustLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
198224–25 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
198323–24 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
198423–24 JuneBirminghamAlexander Stadium3000 metres held in London
198513–14 JulyLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
198620–21 JuneBirminghamAlexander Stadium
19871–2 AugustLondonCrystal Palace National Sports Centre
19885–7 AugustBirminghamAlexander StadiumOlympic trials, women's championships held in conjunction for first time
198911–13 AugustBirminghamAlexander Stadium
19903–4 AugustBirminghamAlexander Stadium
199126–27 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
199227–28 JulyBirminghamAlexander StadiumOlympic trials
199316–17 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
199411–12 JulySheffieldDon Valley Stadium
199515–16 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
199614–16 JulyBirminghamAlexander StadiumOlympic trials
199724–25 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
199824–26 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
199923–25 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
200011–13 JulyBirminghamAlexander StadiumOlympic trials
200113–15 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
200212–14 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
200325–27 JulyBirminghamAlexander Stadium
200410–11 JulyManchesterSportcityOlympic trials
20059–10 JulyManchesterSportcity
200615–16 JulyManchesterSportcity

Most successful athletes by event

Event Men Men's titles Women Women's titles
100 metres Linford Christie 8 Joice Maduaka 5
200 metres John Regis 6 Kathy Smallwood-Cook 6
400 metres David Jenkins 6 Joslyn Hoyte-Smith
Linda Keough
800 metres Steve Ovett
Steve Cram
Curtis Robb
3 Kelly Holmes 7
1500 metres John Mayock 6 Hayley Tullett 4
3000 metres No multiple champions Yvonne Murray 4
5000 metres Eamonn Martin
Brendan Foster
3 Hayley Yelling 3
10,000 metres Dave Bedford 5 Hayley Yelling 3
3000 m steeplechase Maurice Herriott 7 Tina Brown 2
110/100 m hurdles Colin Jackson 11 Sally Gunnell 7
400 m hurdles Chris Rawlinson 6 Gowry Retchakan 5
High jump Howard Baker 6 Dorothy Tyler 8
Pole vault Tom Ray 7 Janine Whitlock 6
Long jump Peter O'Connor 6 Ethel Raby 6
Triple jump  Willem Peters (NED) 6 Michelle Griffith 5
Shot put  Denis Horgan (IRE) 13 Judy Oakes 17
Discus throw Bill Tancred 7 Suzanne Allday 7
Hammer throw Mick Jones
Tom Nicolson
6 Lorraine Shaw 6
Javelin throw Mick Hill
Dave Travis
7 Tessa Sanderson 10
Combined events Leslie Pinder 4 Mary Peters 8
3000/5000 m race walk Roger Mills 10 Betty Sworowski 4
10,000 m race walk Brian Adams 5 Irene Bateman
Helen Elleker
Betty Sworowski
Vicky Lupton

See also

List of British athletics champions


  1. AAA Championships Women. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  2. "Track Stats - John Powell". Retrieved 29 October 2012. The European Championships did not begin until 1934
  3. AAA Championships. NUTS. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  4. UK Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  5. AAA Championships (Men). GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  6. AAA. England Athletics. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  7. What We Do. England Athletics. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  8. Athletes on form at England Athletics Senior Championships Archived 2018-02-26 at the Wayback Machine. England Athletics (2016-07-31). Retrieved 2018-02-25.