Joining Wycombe Phoenix Harriers

Wycombe Phoenix Harriers AC is a thriving local athletics club, based at the Wycombe District Athletics Complex in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

Adults looking to join our athletics club, please select "Joining the club" from the Contact us page, giving details of your athletics experience.

School age children interested in joining the club, please read the below to see if athletics training at WPH is something for you, before requesting to join.

Waiting List

WPH is a highly sought-after club, thus many squads maintain a waiting list, with waiting times spanning from a week to several months.

For younger athletes (under 14), we generally take on new athletes in larger groups at designated intervals, although coaches may also onboard new athletes sporadically throughout the year.

At times of particularly high demand, waiting lists may be closed (and new athletes can not be added to the list) until spaces become available.

The club reserves the right to invite athletes to join the club based on vacancies in certain squads, age categories or performance in club taster sessions, and not necessarily based on the date of joining the waiting list.

Junior Athlete Development Pathway - Summary

The minimum age for joining the club is 8 years old. Children aged 8 to 11 are placed into one of our FUNdamentals groups, where the focus is on developing the fundamental movement skills of running, jumping and throwing. At this age, our aim is to develop these skills through games and fun activities. Even at this age, athletes are expected to train with the club regularly.

From ages 11 to 13, children train within one of our Foundation groups where the focus moves towards event specific training within the three areas of running, jumping and throwing. There is still an emphasis on developing all round athletic ability and further development of the fundamental movement skills. There is also an emphasis on increasing the training volume from one to two sessions per week to ensure that they are fit enough to move into a ‘specialist squad’ at the age of 13+ years. At this age, athletes may be given the opportunity to try out specific event group training in an area where they have expressed particular interest and year 8 athletes may be invited to an additional Thursday training session. This would however be at the coach’s discretion and is dependent on spaces in the event group.

From the age of 13 to 18, athletes will train in more specialist Event Group squads, for example: in Sprints, Throws, Jumps or Middle Distance. While athletes at this age are likely to continue with other sports, their athletics training will become more frequent and focused.

Progression from the FUNdamentals into Foundation training groups will typically take place in either the autumn or spring terms of school year 6. Progression from Foundation to an Event Group usually occurs from the summer term of school year 8. However, this is at the discretion of the coach and may occur earlier or later as deemed appropriate for the athlete and is also dependant on spaces being available in the Event Group squad. Athletes in Event Group squads are expected to commit to training more than one session a week.

Transfer between Event Group squads is possible, although movement between squads covering the same events is discouraged. If an athlete wishes to change Event Group, they must first discuss this with their current coach.

Our Training

Training takes place at a number of locations depending on the time of year and the squad and athletes are expected to have the correct clothing and equipment for the conditions and the type of training. Individual squad pages will have the details. Training is usually in mixed groups and will be supervised by a UKA qualified coach. Qualified coaching assistants may also be involved in delivering the sessions. On occasion unqualified helpers may be called upon, however, this will always be under the strict supervision of a qualified coach.

The club expects that athletes treat all volunteers at the club (including coaches, officials, etc.) with respect and that they abide by the club’s code of conduct (read about our club policy's here). Failure to do so may result in an athlete being asked to leave the club.


WPH is a competitive athletics club and we take part in a number of leagues and other competitions. The majority of these events are team competitions and much in the same way as other sports clubs would, we expect our members to make themselves available for selection for a high proportion of these events and to compete when selected.

Selections are made by the coaches and team managers.

Where an athlete is not selected to compete in league or higher matches we would expect them to compete in open or other competitions that are supported by the club or otherwise recommended by their coach.

As a minimum we would expect our athletes to compete as below.

Expected Athlete Commitment to Compete (Each Year)

FUNdamental Squads

2 Quadkids or Open Competitions

3 Cross Country Competitions


Foundation Squads

4 Track and Field competitions

4 Road / Cross Country Competitions

Event Groups

4 Track and Field competitions

4 Road / Cross Country Competitions (Middle Distance Squad)

Parents’ / Guardians’ Support of Club

The club is run for the members by the members. All coaches, officials and others involved in running the club are volunteers. It takes a surprising number of volunteers to make sure that the athletes can train and compete safely and to the best of their ability, while still having fun.

Parents and guardians of members are expected to contribute to the running of the club on behalf of their athlete member. We need your help however much time you can give, please see our volunteers page.


The Club Constitution allows for membership not to be renewed where renewal would be contrary to the good conduct and best interests of the Club. The consideration by coaches and the Committee will take into account whether or not, on balance, the expected levels of commitment are met. Membership will be reviewed at renewal time and, at the coaches’ and Committees’ discretion, an athlete’s place at the club may be offered to someone else on the waiting list.

Talent Pathway

In special circumstances, entry to the club may be offered to athletes (school year 7 and above) who have performed an event to a certain high standard. See below for criteria (must have achieved at least one of):

  • Finished in the top 3 in a County Schools Athletics competition. Please note this does not include District Schools events. There must be evidence of the result on the Power of 10 website. See link below.
  • Ranked in the top 300 on the Power of 10 website.
  • Have a 68% or higher Parkrun age grading.
  • Competed for their county at the English Schools Cross Country Championships or the English Schools Track and Field championships.

Visit the Power of 10 website here.

Prospective athletes wishing to apply under the Talent Pathway must also demonstrate that they are able to regularly train and compete for the club (see earlier note on minimum competing requirements).

Membership Information

Membership fees are due on 15th April annually and covers the membership period of one year from 1st April to 31st March each year. Fees include England Athletics Athlete Affiliation.  Fee invoices are payable in full by the specified due date and are non-refundable.

For new members, if you are joining the club part-way through our membership year, we will pro-rata your fees dependant on the month you join. Concessionary fees are however not pro-rata'd and payable in full. Please contact us for details.

Note that Club funding and support (for subsidised fees) may be available to those athletes in financial hardship - where fees payable is a barrier to joining our club.  Please apply in confidence via our contact page and select "your membership and fees". The club's officers will be very happy to discuss the options and agree specific arrangements with you. All applications are reviewed on a case by case basis and is subject to approval by the club's committee. You will be asked to reapply each new membership year.

Ready To Join Wycombe Phoenix Harriers?

Select contact us and choose "Joining the Club"...

Information for Parents of Junior Athletes

Athletics training will usually carry on in all weather providing it is safe to do so at the designated training locations. Junior athletes are advised to always come prepared to train in all weather and to bring waterproofs, warm clothing and spike shoes (if relevant).

The club as a whole generally trains year round and will take breaks at different times throughout the year dependant on coach availability.

Coaches will always keep their own squad informed as to to when sessions are not taking place. Please contact your coach directly if in doubt.

Squad placement for new joiners is decided by the Membership Secretary and coaches. For existing members, this is managed by your child's current coach. Always speak to them in the first instance.

We would advise athletes to:

  • wear suitable sports clothing for training
  • bring warm layers and waterproofs
  • wear running trainers
  • bring a pair of spikes shoes (if you have a pair)
  • bring a bottle of water to drink at training (non-fizzy drinks)

Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Membership invoices are emailed to members directly from an England Athletics' no-reply email address. All invoice queries should be referred back to the Club's Membership Secretary (NOT to England Athletics).

Membership fees must be paid online through PayZip. To make payment, click the payment link within the email with your invoice. Please do not pay your membership fees by direct bank transfer.

Contact our Membership Secretary using the Contact Us button if you have any membership payment queries. 

The due date for your membership fees is usually set by the Membership Secretary. Athletes may commence training with the club or enter into competition(s) only when subs have been fully paid up. Otherwise, you will not be insured to train with us and your England Athletic's Licence will not be valid for competitions.

No. The club hire the track facilities for specific times only. WPH members - all ages - are therefore only allowed to train at the track and use the facilities during club times. Membership with the WPH does not cover the use of the Little Marlow Athletics Complex facilities outside of our normal club booking times. If you wish to use the track when the club does not have a valid booking, you will need to make and pay for your own booking by contacting Wycombe District Council directly to arrange.

Please do not attempt to use the track outside of club training sessions as this would be considered trespassing.

Wycombe Phoenix Harriers has highly skilled Pole Vault coaches with a track record of coaching athletes at National Level. But everyone has to start somewhere, beginners start with low grips jumping into a sandpit about 10 cm off the ground. As the athlete’s skills develop, they start jumping for height onto foam landing areas. Once the athlete starts to master the event, they are then taught to bend the pole and progress to a technique similar to elite athletes.

Look out for our beginner/taster sessions over the summer months if you want to give pole vault a go.