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AAU Track and Field

aau track and field

The AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) track and field events are annual competitions designed for athletes of all ages, from elementary school students to adults. These events are a fantastic opportunity to engage in healthy competition, develop athletic abilities, and foster a lifelong passion for track and field sports.

History of AAU Track and Field

The AAU was established in 1888 with the mission to promote and develop amateur sports. Over the years, it has become a pillar in the sports community, offering numerous opportunities for young athletes to compete at various levels. The track and field events are among the most popular, drawing participants from all over the country.

Events and Categories in AAU

The AAU track and field encompasses a wide range of disciplines, catering to different skills and interests:

  • Sprints (e.g., 100m, 200m, 400m)
  • Distance Running (e.g., 800m, 1500m, 3000m)
  • Hurdles (e.g., 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles)
  • Jumps (e.g., long jump, high jump, triple jump)
  • Throws (e.g., shot put, discus throw, javelin throw)
  • Relays (e.g., 4x100m, 4x400m)

Benefits of Participating in AAU

Engaging in AAU track and field offers numerous benefits:

  • Physical Fitness: Regular training and competition enhance physical health.
  • Skill Development: Athletes develop essential track and field techniques.
  • Sportsmanship: Participants learn the values of fair play and respect.
  • Camaraderie: Building friendships and team spirit with fellow athletes.
  • Personal Improvement: Focus on setting and achieving personal goals.

Notable Athletes Who Started in AAU

Many successful athletes began their careers in AAU track and field. Some notable examples include:

  • Florence Griffith Joyner (“Flo Jo”) – Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in sprints.
  • Carl Lewis is the Olympic champion in sprints and long jumps.
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a renowned heptathlete and long jumper with multiple Olympic medals.

How to Get Involved in AAU

Getting started with AAU track and field is simple:

  1. Find a Local Club: Search for AAU-affiliated clubs in your area.
  2. Register: Sign up for membership to participate in events.
  3. Train: Join practice sessions to improve your skills.
  4. Compete: Participate in local, regional, and national AAU competitions.

Success Stories from Past Participants

AAU track and field has been a stepping stone for many athletes:

  • Allyson Felix – Multiple Olympic gold medalist who began her career in AAU.
  • Michael Johnson – World-record-holding sprinter and Olympic champion.
  • Sydney McLaughlin – Young hurdler and sprinter who rose to fame through AAU competitions.


Q: What is the age range for AAU track and field participants?  

A: AAU track and field events are open to athletes of all ages, starting from as young as five years old up to adults. Age groups are divided to ensure fair competition among peers.

Q: Do I need prior experience to join the AAU track and field team?  

A: No prior experience is necessary. The AAU provides opportunities for athletes of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced competitors.

Q: How can I find an AAU track and field event near me?  

A: You can find local AAU track and field events by visiting the official AAU website and using their event search tool. Additionally, reaching out to local AAU-affiliated clubs can provide information on upcoming events.

Q: What is the cost of joining an AAU club and participating in events?  

A: The cost can vary depending on the club and region. Fees typically include AAU membership dues, club registration fees, and competition entry fees. It’s best to contact local clubs for specific pricing details.

Q: What equipment do I need for AAU track and field?  

A: Basic equipment includes proper running shoes and athletic attire. Some events may require specific equipment, such as spikes for sprints or throwing implements for field events. Your coach or club can provide detailed recommendations.

Q: Are there scholarships available for AAU athletes?  

A: While the AAU itself does not offer scholarships, participating in AAU events can provide valuable exposure and experience that may help in securing athletic scholarships from colleges and universities.

Q: How often do athletes train and compete?  

A: Training schedules can vary based on the club and athlete’s level of commitment. Typically, athletes train several times a week, with competitions held on weekends or during the track and field season.

Q: Can parents get involved in AAU track and field?  

A: Absolutely, parents play a crucial role in supporting their young athletes. Many clubs also welcome parent volunteers to assist with events and administrative tasks.


The impact of AAU track and field extends far beyond the medals and accolades. It instills a lifelong love for the sport, teaches valuable life lessons, and paves the way for future success on and off the track.

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