NEMAA: information for new and existing members

NEMAA stands for “North East Masters Athletics Association”. You are eligible to join provided that:

  • You are aged 35 or over
  • You are a member of a UK Athletics affiliated club (we are!)
  • You have bona fide residence in, or were born within the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Tyne and Wear or Cleveland.

The Association organizes Masters athletics competition in the North East of England for men and women in five-year age groups. These competitions fall broadly into two main categories.

Road, multi-terrain and XC (Endurance events)

There are NEMAA Championship races throughout the year, at distances ranging from 5k to the marathon. For 5k and 10k there are separate Championships for road and multi-terrain. Some events, such as the cross country, are exclusively for NEMAA members, but most are incorporated within existing races. For example, back in 2019 the Terry O’Gara 5k and Heaton Memorial 10k were the designated races for the NEMAA 5k and 10k road race Championships respectively. Individual NEMAA medals are awarded to the first three finishers in each 5-year age category. There is also an Endurance Grand Prix which runs throughout the year. Points are awarded to the first 6 NEMAA members in each age category in all the Championship races plus the 3k (women), 5k (men) and 10k (all) on the track. You can check your progress on the NEMAA website  – click on the “road and XC” tab then “Endurance Grand Prix”.

Track and Field League

The actual dates for all the Track and Field fixtures can be found when available on the NEMAA website: They will also appear in our weekly e-Newsletter “Crook-ED”. There are six league fixtures, all of which take place at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, on Monday evenings. In addition, the NEMAA Track and Field Championships are normally held on a Saturday in June, whist the Pentathlon and 10k Track Championships are held on a Saturday in late September

At League fixtures, the field events start at 6.15 and track events at 6.30 so you need to arrive by 6pm to register and choose your events for the night. Don’t forget to bring your yellow NEMAA membership card with you on your first visit as proof of paid-up membership. You can also save time by pre-entering your events and paying online – details of how to go about this can be found on the NEMAA website: If you would like to take part but are not currently a signed-up member of NEMAA, you will need to have done so before you go to Monkton as new registrations are not taken on the night.

Registration for each meeting costs £5 (plus a small admin fee of a few pence if paying online) and you can choose any 3 of the available events. You may combine track and field events but it’s always worth checking with the timetable before you make your choice – try to avoid events that are scheduled to take place at the same time (although finishing a 1500m race then going straight to the long jump whilst still in oxygen debt is very much part of the “Monkton Experience”!) You will be issued with a number on your first visit – use this same number each time you compete (like in the Harrier League X-Country). There are separate league competitions for men and women, as well as individual “Grand Prix” awards. In each age category the individual awards are available in four different event categories as summarized below.

Sprints:            100m, 200m, 300m, 400m

Distance:         800m, 1500m, mile, 3000m, 5000m

Jumps:             long jump, high jump, triple jump

Throws:           shot, javelin, discus, hammer

Points are scored in 5-year age categories so you are always effectively competing against people in your own age range.

A 1-2 for Crook AC in the Ladies’ 3000m Championship – Jo Raine (Gold) and Caroline Teasdale (Silver) leave the rest of the field trailing in their wake!

Track Races

  1. Athletes are responsible for assembling in the correct start area for their race in good time. Listen for announcements over the public address system.
  2. All track races are graded according to the estimated times submitted by the competitors. This means that each heat should be made up of athletes of similar ability (irrespective of age or gender) resulting in closer races and better competition. The order of running usually slowest heat first, fastest heat last. Remember that points are still based on age categories, so, for example, all the M45 athletes from the different heats of the same event will be ranked according to their finishing times and points awarded accordingly. It is therefore important that you strive for the fastest time possible whatever your finishing position in your heat – don’t ease up before the finish line even if you are 10 metres clear of your rivals!
  3. The Starter’s Assistant will call out the numbers (not names) before your race (like taking a register!).
  4. Sprints (up to 400m). Lanes are always drawn for these races and you MUST stay in your lane for the entire race. Be very careful not to stray out of your lane, particularly on the inside, as this could result in disqualification. You can choose whether to do a sprint start or a standing start. The Starter’s instructions will be “Take your marks”, “Set”, then go on the gun (a starting pistol is used).
  5. 800m races may involve either a line start (where you can ‘break’ immediately) or a lane start (where you ‘break’ after 120m – there is a green line across the track at this point). ALL races above 800m begin with a line start. The Starter’s instruction for 800m and above will be “Take your marks” followed by the gun – there is no “Set” command.
  6. At the end of your race make sure that you run right through the line, then turn around so that the timekeepers can see your number (don’t worry they will remind you if you forget!). You can, of course, record your own time and whilst this is fine in longer races (800m plus) I would not recommend fiddling with your watch at the start of a sprint.
  7. Footwear – track spikes are recommended, particularly for the sprints otherwise you will be at a major disadvantage. For longer races, you can wear flat road racing shoes if you feel more comfortable in these.

Our current Ladies’ Captain Sharon “P.B.” Bridge strutting her stuff in the 100 metres

Field Events

  1. These often overlap with track events so, as mentioned earlier, check the timetable of events and be prepared to adopt a flexible approach! Listen for announcements and keep an eye on the event area.
  2. Before your event starts you will need to register with one of the officials: name, club, number and age category.
  3. Every competitor is allowed THREE jumps / throws initially. Anyone who reaches the standard for that particular event has the option of three further attempts. Standards vary according to age category and are different for male and female athletes.
  4. In order to score points you must register at least one VALID jump / throw.

Other Points

It’s always worth remembering that a few of the athletes will be specialists at sprinting or particular field events – they only do these events and train specifically for them. Don’t feel intimidated as a result because the majority of people who attend are just like us – willing to have a go at anything and trying to win points for their club. A comment often heard particularly in the vicinity of field events is “I haven’t done this since I was at school!” Everyone is always very friendly and supportive. After you have been to two or three meetings you will have set yourself targets to aim for in the future. By this stage you should also have some idea of the standard of other athletes in your age-category, and this will help you to pace yourself more effectively in longer races.

A bit of forward planning would be useful in age-categories where we have several representatives. Ideally, we should try to avoid having more than two people from the same age-category in the same event. Only three athletes from the same club can score points in a given event in their age category. For example, if four of us entered the M60 200m and finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, the athlete in 4th place would not score any points.

If you’re aged 35 or over and haven’t tried NEMAA as yet, please come and give it a go. It doesn’t cost a fortune to sign up for a year and if, having given it a go, you decide that it isn’t for you there’s nothing lost. However, most of our members really enjoy what is a very different type of competition to the usual road/trail or XC races, and keep coming back year after year.

Let’s go for a really bumper turnout in the summer, flood Monkton Stadium with yellow and red, and try to get our little club high up in both the Men’s and Ladies’ leagues!

There’s more to Jayne Henderson than just sprinting – here she is ‘enjoying’ the 800 metres at the NEMAA Pentathlon Championships.