Athletics is a group of sporting events that involves competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking.
The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and racewalking.
There are two main athletics organisations in Canberra - Athletics ACT and Little Athletics ACT (for the kids). There are also a bunch of other clubs and groups that provide inclusive activities like running.
Local Athletics Opportunities
You should always start at your local Athletics Club. Canberra has a bunch of athletics clubs in every part of the city that cater for people young and old. Whether you are just starting out, have been participating for years, or want to get involved as a coach, official or volunteer, we're confident your local club would love to get you involved.
Once you join your local club, there are a range of disability groups that are eligible to compete in para-athletics events. These disability groups are separated into classifications to ensure fair competition. The classification groups are as follows:
Athletes with a transplant, and
Visit the Athletics ACT website or click on the image below to find your local club. And if you need any help at all, get in touch with Athletics ACT's Senior Participation and Development Manager - Matthew Wade - by phone on email at
(firstname.lastname@example.org or 6253 4420).
Little Athletics is a modified athletics program for children from 5 to 16 years. Children involved in Little Athletics will develop basic running, jumping and throwing skills as well as have the opportunity to participate in events that are modified and suited to the ability of the child.
The philosophy of Little Athletics is to provide fun, fitness and family involvement for children in Athletics by making it fun and accessible to all children regardless of their ability or sport experience.
There are 16 Little Athletic centres in the ACT and surrounding areas. Each of these centres conducts weekly activities at local ovals. These centres may compete at different times of the day/week. We recommend that you contact the centre to discuss specific details. Please click here to find your local centre.
Achilles Running Club Canberra offers people with a disability the chance to enjoy relaxed exercise in a pleasant location with the encouragement of friendly, trained volunteer guides. Participants are supported to develop their walking or running abilities to a level of their choosing.
People with a disability are welcome to attend regular training sessions held in accessible and central locations. Experienced guides ensure that members feel safe and welcome at regular training sessions and work with members to achieve their fitness goals - be that walking in a 5k event to running a marathon or an ultra-marathon.
Achilles members participate in a range of local and national running and walking events, ensuring their members have a safe and enjoyable experience. They also take part in Parkruns in bright yellow shirts (keep an eye out). Go along and enjoy the health benefits of walking or running.
DAY: 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month (rain hail or shine)
TIME: 8:00am (9:00am in winter)
LOCATION: Meet at the picnic tables between Soundy Close car park and Belconnen Skateboard Park.
WHO IT'S FOR: Mainly people with a disability, particularly people with a vision impairment, supported by volunteer guides
Parkruns are free, weekly, community events all around the world. Saturday morning events are 5k and take place in parks and open spaces. On Sunday mornings, there are 2k junior parkruns for children aged four to 14.
Parkrun is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along. Whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate, you can learn new skills and enhance your health and happiness in the great outdoors whilst making new friends, feeling part of your local community and improving your fitness.
Registration is completely free and only needs to be done once! Simply complete the registration form, print your barcode and head down to your local event.
DAY: Saturday and Sunday (rain, hail or shine)
LOCATION: Various locations around Canberra
WHO IT'S FOR: Everyone
For more details, go to the Parkrun website.
National athletics opportunities
There are a number of opportunities for 'para-athletes' with the ultimate event being the Paralympic Games. Although there are other opportunities Sport Inclusion Australia, Deaf Sports Australia and Transplant Australia. The pathway to the Paralympic Games is managed via Athletics ACT's Target Talent Program.
For more information about pathway opportunities and events where you can represent the ACT, check out the Athletics Australia website. And check out the video below if you want to see what the Paralympic Games are all about.
Every four years, Special Olympics Australia runs National and Junior National Games for people with an intellectual disability. Athletics is one of the main sports run at both Games, with the opportunity for athletes to compete for a spot on Team Australia for the Special Olympics World Games.
To participate, athletes need to register with their local Special Olympics club and compete in local and state competitions in the lead up to the National Games.
For more information, visit the Special Olympics website.