Bringing endurance athletes & their coaches together to learn and improve
Run in conjunction with the Ulster Athletics Council and Athletics Ireland the “Ulster & Northern Ireland Endurance Development Squad” weekends will be held 3-4 times across the year and provide an opportunity for a select group of promising endurance athletes to train together and learn key skills that will aid them in achieving success in endurance events.

The Squad Weekends will begin on Friday evening and run until Sunday afternoon. Athletes may either travel in each day or stay in the self catering accommodation provided at the venue. The weekends activities will include structured endurance running sessions as well as practical workshops on topics such as running mechanics, strength and conditioning, psychology and nutrition. The various sessions will be delivered by a team made up of ANI staff and identified endurance coaches from across Ulster and Northern Ireland.

In order to be invited to the squad weekends athletes must meet specified selection criteria and have the approval of their personal coach to attend.

Cross Country Girls

Girls competing at the Northern Ireland and Ulster Cross Country Championships.

Squad Reports & Training Sessions

Look back at the schedules for previous squad weekends.

Athlete & Coach Views

What Athletes & Coaches have to say about Youth Academy

For me personally, the Endurance Squad weekend was an excellent learning experience and to hear it all from the leading people in the field makes it all the more convincing. I think for the athletes themselves this weekend was also a hugely important experience because many of them do a lot of training alone. For these athletes the weekend offers them an opportunity to get to know one another and also train together. My son, Donal, enjoyed every minute.” Dara Dunne


Frequently Asked Questions

What the the selection criteria?

The selection criteria for the Pilot squad being held in September 2015 are as follows:

  1. Athletes must have a birth date that falls between 1st January 1996 and 31st December 2000
  2. All selection performance must occur while the athletes is in the under 16 and under 20 age groups. Performances that occur when an athlete is in the under 14 age group will not be counted.
  3. Have represented Great Britain or Ireland in International competition in 2014/2015 (European XC Championships 2014, Celtic International XC 2015, Schools International XC 2015, Schools International T&F 2015, EYOF 2015, World Youth T&F 2015, European Junior T&F 2015)
  4. Have finished in the top 5 places at an outdoor All Ireland T&F Schools or Clubs
  5. Have finished in the top 20 places at an All Ireland Schools XC or All Ireland Clubs XC Championship (Inter Club XC discounted here due to low numbers)
  6. Have finished in the top 5 places in an Indoor All Ireland T&F
  7. Have finished in the top 3 paces at the Ulster Schools Cross Country Finals
  8. Where an athlete has previously achieved the above standards as an under 16 or under 18 athletes and then been injured for a long period of time and missed a whole season, the the selectors may select an athlete on a trial basis for the squad to prove form
  9. Where an athlete is new to the sport and has shown tremendous performances & potential, the selectors may select an athlete on a trial basis for the squad to prove form.

*Please note: The selection criteria will be updated after the Pilot is complete, to take into consideration feedback collected during the pilot process.

You refer to the Squad as a Pilot. What does this mean?
In order to gauge interest in the concept of an Endurance Squad, the first squad day will be run as a Pilot. This means that the venue, selection criteria, format etc will be evaluated after it is complete and changes made as necessary. If too few people express interest the organisers may opt not to run the squad in the future.