The WAAA Championships was an annual track and field competition organised by the Women's Amateur Athletic Association (WAAA) in England. It was the foremost domestic athletics event for women during its lifetime.
|Sport||Track and field|
Since 1880, the Amateur Athletic Association of England had held the AAA Championships, but it admitted men only and did not wish to include women. Women's clubs and competitions were typically separate from the men's and in line with growing interest in the sport the WAAA was founded in 1922. Several contests in the country were approved by the WAAA with "Championships of England" status that year, and this was subsequently replaced with an organised WAAA Championships in 1923. Aside from the 1927 championships in Reading, Berkshire, the WAAA track and field event was based at various locations in London up to 1939. The competition was interrupted by World War II but was re-instigated in 1945 and remained in London until a move to Birmingham in 1985.
As women's athletics developed in the 20th century, major international men's and women's events typically were held in conjunction, with women first appearing on the Olympic athletics programme in 1928 and the European Athletics Championships being fully combined by its third edition in 1946. The AAA and WAAA events remained divided for much longer and it was not until 1988 that the women's events were merged into an all-gender AAA Championships in 1988, though the WAAA remained the organiser of the women's events. This change came during a period of reform that would see the sport fully professionalise and, in the UK, organisation move to national level.
The establishment of UK Athletics in 1999 to serve as the national governing body for professional, elite athletics ultimately started the decline of the AAA Championships. UK Athletics took over the role of both national championships and international team selection with its own British Athletics Championships from 2007 onwards.
The following athletics events featured as standard on the main WAAA Championships programme:
- Sprint: 100 m, 200 m, 400 m
- Distance track events: 800 m, 1500 m, 3000 m (until 1999) 5000 m
- Hurdles: 100 m hurdles, 400 m hurdles, 3000 m steeplechase
- Jumps: long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault
- Throws: shot put, discus, hammer, javelin
The following events were regularly held, but often outside of the main programme:
- Long-distance track events: 10,000 m
- Combined events: pentathlon/heptathlon
- Walks: 5000 m walk, 10,000 m walk
- Road running: marathon
Races were contested, and field events measured, in yards and feet up until 1968. The 2000 metres steeplechase was held in 2002 and 2003 before moving to the standard 3000 m distance. The 80 metres hurdles was contested until 1968 before being replaced by the new international standard 100 metres hurdles. The 200 metres hurdles was on the programme from 1961 to 1972, before being dropped in favour of the 400 metres hurdles. A 60 metres event was available from 1935 to 1950. A women's mile run was first contested in 1936, indicating a growing acceptance to women taking part in distance events. The 3000 metres was introduced in 1968 and lasted until 1999. The standard 5000 metres and 10,000 metres events came after, being first held in 1980 as non-championship events before achieving full status.
The field events expanded roughly in line with international changes. The triple jump first appeared in 1989, followed by championship events in pole vault and hammer throw in 1993, bringing women to parity with men in field events. A women's pentathlon (first held in 1949) was replaced with a heptathlon in 1981.
Racewalking events underwent progressive change in distance, from 880 yards (1923–1927), to one mile (1928–1932), rounded down to 1600 m in 1933 to 1939, back to one mile (1945–1958), up to 1.5 miles (1960–68), then 2500 m (1969–1972), 3000 m in 1973 and 1974, before finally reaching the 5000 m distance in 1975. A 10,000 m walk was introduced in 1978. A variety of relay races were contested by clubs prior to 1960.
|—||1922||Various||Various||Championships status provided to several events|
|1||1923||London||Bromley, Oxo Sports Ground|
|11||1933||London||White City Stadium|
|13||1935||London||White City Stadium|
|14||1936||London||White City Stadium|
|15||1937||7 August||London||White City Stadium|
|16||1938||London||White City Stadium|
|17||1939||London||White City Stadium|
|Not held 1940 to 1944 due to World War II|
|18||1945||London||Tooting Bec Athletics Track|
|19||1946||London||White City Stadium|
|20||1947||2 August||London||Polytechnic Stadium|
|21||1948||26 June||London||Polytechnic Stadium|
|22||1949||London||White City Stadium|
|23||1950||London||White City Stadium|
|24||1951||London||White City Stadium|
|25||1952||14 June||London||White City Stadium|
|26||1953||London||White City Stadium|
|27||1954||London||White City Stadium|
|28||1955||London||White City Stadium|
|29||1956||London||White City Stadium|
|30||1957||London||White City Stadium|
|31||1958||7 June||London||Motspur Park|
|32||1959||4 July||London||Motspur Park|
|33||1960||1–2 July||London||White City Stadium||Pentathlon held in Birmingham|
|34||1961||8 July||London||White City Stadium||Pentathlon held in Birmingham|
|35||1962||London||White City Stadium||Pentathlon held separately in London|
|36||1963||6 July||London||White City Stadium||100 m hurdles held in Watford, Pentathlon held in Leamington Spa|
|37||1964||4 July||London||White City Stadium||100 m hurdles held in Watford, Pentathlon held in Birmingham|
|38||1965||3 July||London||White City Stadium||100 m hurdles held in Wolverhampton, Pentathlon held separately in London|
|39||1966||1 July||London||White City Stadium||200 m hurdles held in Watford, Pentathlon held in Birmingham|
|40||1967||London||White City Stadium||200 m hurdles held in Manchester, Pentathlon held in Solihull|
|41||1968||19–20 July||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||Imperial distance events replaced with metric distances|
3000 m and 200 m hurdles held in Crawley
|42||1969||19 July||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||3000 m and 200 m hurdles held in Manchester, Pentathlon held in Birmingham|
|43||1970||27 June||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre|
|44||1971||17 July||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||Pentathlon held in Birmingham|
|45||1972||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre|
|46||1973||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||Pentathlon held in Warley, Essex|
|47||1974||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre|
|48||1975||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre|
|49||1976||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre|
|50||1977||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||Pentathlon and 5000 m walk held in Wolverhampton|
|51||1978||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||Pentathlon and 5000 m walk held in Birmingham|
|52||1979||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||Pentathlon and 5000 m walk held in Birmingham, 10,000 m walk held in Hornchurch|
|53||1980||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||10K run and pentathlon held in Birmingham|
|54||1981||25 July||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||10,000 metres held in Enfield, heptathlon held in Birmingham|
|55||1982||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||3000 and 10,000 metres and heptathlon held in Birmingham|
|56||1983||30 July||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||3000 and 10,000 metres and heptathlon held in Birmingham, 10,000 m walk held in Kirkby|
|57||1984||London||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre||10,000 m and heptathlon held at Herne Hill, 10,000 m walk held in Birmingham|
|58||1985||26–27 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m and heptathlon held in Bournemouth, 10,000 m walk held in London|
|59||1986||6–7 June||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m and heptathlon held in Hull, 10,000 m walk held in London|
|60||1987||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m and heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent, 10,000 m walk held in Middlesbrough|
|—||1988||5–7 August||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||Olympic trials, women's championships held in conjunction with men's for first time|
5000 and 10,000 metres and heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent, 10,000 m walk held in London
|—||1989||11–13 August||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||5000 metres and heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent, triple jump held in Middlesbrough, 10 km walk held in Leeds|
|—||1990||3–4 August||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||5000 metres and heptathlon and triple jump held in Stoke-on-Trent, 10,000 m held in Portsmouth, 10,000 m walk held in London|
|—||1991||26–27 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m walk, 5000 metres and heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent, 10,000 m held in Cardiff|
|—||1992||27–28 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||Olympic trials|
5000 metres and hammer throw held in Stoke-on-Trent, 10,000 m and heptathlon held in Sheffield
|—||1993||16–17 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||3000 metres held in London, 10,000 m held in Portsmouth, heptathlon and 10,000 m walk held in Horsham|
|—||1994||11–12 July||Sheffield||Don Valley Stadium||5000 metres held in Birmingham, heptathlon and 5000 m walk held in Horsham, 10,000 m walk held in Bolton|
|—||1995||15–16 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m held in Bedford, heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent, 10,000 m walk held in Watford|
|—||1996||14–16 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||Olympic trials|
heptathlon held in Bedford, 10,000 m walk held in Enfield
|—||1997||24–25 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||Heptathlon held in Sheffield, 10,000 m walk held in Worcester|
|—||1998||24–26 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||3000 metres held in Sheffield, 10,000 m held in Bedford, Heptathlon held in Derby, 10,000 m walk held in Basildon|
|—||1999||23–25 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||New javelin model introduced|
3000 metres held in Sheffield, 10,000 m held in Watford, Heptathlon held in Hexham
|—||2000||11–13 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||Olympic trials|
10,000 m held in Watford, Heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent
|—||2001||13–15 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m held in Watford, Heptathlon held in Bedford|
|—||2002||12–14 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m held in Manchester, Heptathlon held in Wrexham|
|—||2003||25–27 July||Birmingham||Alexander Stadium||10,000 m held in Watford, Heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent|
|—||2004||10–11 July||Manchester||Sportcity||Olympic trials|
10,000 m held in Watford, heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent
|—||2005||9–10 July||Manchester||Sportcity||10,000 m held in Watford, heptathlon held in Hexham|
|—||2006||15–16 July||Manchester||Sportcity||10,000 m held in Watford, heptathlon held in Stoke-on-Trent|
Most successful athletes by eventEdit
|100 metres||Joice Maduaka||5|
|200 metres||Kathy Smallwood-Cook||6|
|400 metres||Joslyn Hoyte-Smith
|800 metres||Kelly Holmes||7|
|1500 metres||Hayley Tullett||4|
|3000 metres||Yvonne Murray||4|
|5000 metres||Hayley Yelling||3|
|10,000 metres||Hayley Yelling||3|
|3000 m steeplechase||Tina Brown||2|
|100 m hurdles||Sally Gunnell||7|
|200 m hurdles||Pat Nutting
|400 m hurdles||Gowry Retchakan||5|
|High jump||Dorothy Tyler||8|
|Pole vault||Janine Whitlock||6|
|Long jump||Ethel Raby||6|
|Triple jump||Michelle Griffith||5|
|Shot put||Judy Oakes||17|
|Discus throw||Suzanne Allday||7|
|Hammer throw||Lorraine Shaw||6|
|Javelin throw||Tessa Sanderson||10|
|Combined events||Mary Peters||8|
|3000/5000 m race walk||Betty Sworowski||4|
|10,000 m race walk||Irene Bateman
- AAA Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- About Athletics. Sheffield Hallam University. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- AAA Championships (Women). GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- WAAA Championships (1923-1939). GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- British Athletics Championships 1945-1959. GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- Olympic Games (Women). GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- European Championships (Women). GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- AAA, WAAA and National Championships Medallists. National Union of Track and Field Statisticians. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- WAAA Championships. Power of 10. Retrieved 2018-04-04.