Thinking about joining CUAC?
If you're interested in trying athletics, we would love to meet you! We are always looking for new members to join the CUAC family. Read more about our diversity here.
You can meet us at the annual Freshers’ fair, come along to any one (or more) of our sessions in the first few weeks of term, or drop by one of our Freshers’ socials. Otherwise, feel free to drop the relevant squad leader(s) an email at any time. Your college will also have a College Captain with whom we can put you in contact, if you want a college face to talk to about joining athletics.
We are very relaxed about letting new athletes try out the sport thoroughly before making a formal decision to join us. We know that athletics is a sport that may not have been experienced to its full potential for many. We want you to try out training for whichever events you are interested in, and be convinced you like it before committing to CUAC.
To keep updated with our training schedule by email, go ahead and register your details below. If you let us know what event(s) you're interested in, we can also add you to our Whatsapp groups to allow you to stay up to date about upcoming training sessions, events and competitions.
CUAC’s membership is diverse. Here are six stories to prove it.
Read Kaesi Opara's story
Having only started athletics in his 3rd year at Cambridge, Kaesi has demonstrated that it is possible to earn a Blue as a newcomer to the sport.
Read Chloe Billingham's story
Once a gymnast, now a pole-vaulter, Chloe has been able to continue her athletics career here at Cambridge, achieving the Blues standard in her first year.
Read Elliot Baines' story
Being part of CUAC has helped Elliot through injury recovery, and rekindled his passion for his childhood sport.
Read Hephzibah 'Hepsi' Adeosun's story
Having taken up athletics late in her school life, Hepsi has continued to excel in CUAC, using athletics to help maintain physical and mental balance.
Read James Coxon's story
Joining CUAC has given James a training environment that has allowed him to improve dramatically, whilst also offering a rewarding, fun and social counterbalance to the academic aspect of Cambridge
Read Daisy Irving-Hyman's story
Joining CUAC in her first year allowed Daisy to take athletics seriously, train consistently, and find her feet in the 400m and 400mH events.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Varsity?
'Varsity’ refers to an official competition between Oxford and Cambridge. In athletics, we have three Varsity competitions spread over the course of the academic year:
- The Freshers’ Varsity Match (outdoor, November)
- Varsity Field Events and Relays (aka VFEAR) (indoor, March)
- The Varsity Match (outdoor, May)
When you hear CUAC talking about Varsity, they are usually referring to the Summer match, which is our biggest competition.
Only members of the club who have never competed for CUAC at a Varsity match are eligible to compete at Freshers’ Varsity.
What is Cuppers?
‘Cuppers’ refers to any competition held between college teams. CUAC hosts two Cuppers competitions:
- Winter Cuppers
- CUAC Sports (Summer Cuppers)
The winning colleges in the Mens’ and Womens’ competitions are those which obtain the highest number of points over both competitions.
How do I pick a squad?
Many people join CUAC unsure of what their event is…and that’s ok! All the squads can cater for beginners, and are open to welcoming you for a ‘taster’ session. Simply send the relevant squad leader(s) an email, and they can let you know the next training time, and give you some guidance. Feel free to try out as many events as you like.
Is there are minimum standard?
Not at all! The only requirement to join CUAC is a willingness to train and do your best, for yourself and for CUAC.
The official standards can be viewed here, however, please note that the ‘Cuppers’ standards are NOT what are required to compete in the Cuppers competitions.
Can I just train with my college?
Unlike a large number of sports at Cambridge, college athletics teams don’t really train throughout the year, so joining CUAC is the way forward if you are interested to do track and field consistently. The absence of college-based training is due to the fact that there are few intercollegiate meets, and the fact that CUAC can cater for athletes of all abilities, so there is no need for two ‘levels’ of the sport within the university.
What is the relationship between CUAC and CUH&H?
For historical reasons, CUH&H is a separate club to CUAC. However, the links between the clubs are very strong and many are members of both. A typical aim for ‘double members’ is to compete well at cross-country for CUH&H in the Michaelmas and Lent terms, and then in middle/long distance events on the track for CUAC in the Easter term.
This conforms to the standard approach to training for distance events used by athletes across the world: concentrate on endurance and strength over the winter and speed-endurance in the spring and summer.
The training groups remain roughly the same in the Easter term, you are simply running for a different club on the track (though still for Cambridge which is the important thing!)
Do you take complete beginners or people who haven't done any athletics since high school?
Many CUAC athletes join as novices, or having not done athletics since high school, so there is no need to fear.
You can read about some of these athletes here.
What's the time commitment like? How does it fit in with academics?
Our coaches and fellow athletes understand that Cambridge is extremely demanding in terms of academics, so there are no unrealistic expectations.
The time commitment is as little or as much as you like. Many members attend around 3 sessions a week, which tends to leave enough time for work, socialising and getting involved with something else Cambridge has to offer. Track and field is a sport where what you put in, you tend to get out.
The most important thing to remember is that getting out and being active in a supportive and social environment is very important in keeping a balanced life here in Cambridge. Joining CUAC is seriously good for your mental health. Because your performance is so dependent on your consistency of training, this can help motivate you to maintain a balance of study and exercise/play/relaxation.
Can I train with CUAC and other sports?
Yes you can. Many athletes compete for their colleges in various college sports, and a number of athletes also play other university-level sports.
Training through the winter with CUAC, even a few times a week, is great for your fitness. Our Strength and Conditioning sessions are one of the major benefits of becoming a member of CUAC.
Many university-level sports have their Varsity in Lent term. Being a member of CUAC allows you to continue structure physical activity in the mentally tough Easter term - a welcome break from the books.
Of course, it goes without saying that that more focused you are on Athletics, the better your performance will be.