Joining the Club

  • I want to join Bedford Harriers, what do I need to do?

    There are 2 ways you can join:
    • Come along to one of our training nights – Mondays or Wednesdays (except bank holidays).  Sessions start at at 6:30 pm at Bedford International Athletics Stadium, Barkers Lane, Bedford MK41 9SB, but aim to get there for 6:15 pm - there will be a volunteer standing by the reception desk ready to welcome any new members.  They will talk you through the process and give you the membership form.  You get a 4 week free trial membership.
    • Complete the application form (Bedford Harriers Membership Form) on our website.
  • Is Membership refundable?

    No.  However, you do get your first 4 weeks free, with no obligation to stay as a member afterwards.
  • I am new to running, can I join?

    Of course!  We pride ourselves in being as inclusive as possible and we have groups to suit all different abilities.  However, if you are new to running, your best bet might be to join our Beginners’ Group, which normally runs from April to September.  We run it at that time of year as the weather (hopefully) starts to improve and the evenings are getting lighter, so it’s easier to keep the motivation going!
  • What groups do you run?

    Excluding the beginners’ group (which runs from April to September) we have 7 running groups for different levels of ability, plus a Run/Walk group.  The 7 running groups use the following paces as a benchmark (based on your pace in minutes per mile over a 6 mile steady run):















Groups run on Monday and Wednesday evenings, with some groups also running Saturday morning sessions.  You don’t need to attend every session – some members run only on Mondays, others only on Wednesdays (and some rarely if ever run in groups!).

  • What does a typical training session involve?

    Typically your group will meet at the Stadium at 6:30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Groups do sometimes meet away from the stadium (particularly in summer) but coaches will always make this clear beforehand.  Sessions are shown on TeamUp, which can be accessed via the “Group Schedules” tab on our website.

    Most groups then go to the Club warm-up, which takes place on the grass by the track during the lighter months and in the sports hall when it’s darker.  The warm up isn’t compulsory: you can instead meet up with the rest of your group at 6:45pm outside the front of the Stadium.

    Groups typically run for 60-90 minutes depending on the session and finish at the starting point (ie usually the Stadium).  After your run, you can then use the showers in the Stadium if you wish.
  • What are the benefits of being a Club member?

    All members get:
    • Coaching with a qualified coach
    • Free entry to all races in the Three Counties Cross Country League
    • Liability insurance whilst training with the Club
    • Free entry into the Club’s London Marathon place draw (subject to qualifying conditions)
    • Free entry into the Club’s Volunteers’ Draw (subject to qualifying conditions)
    • Free or subsidised social events, including our (free) annual Awards Dinner
    • Access to circuit sessions during the darker months (currently free)
    • Access to track sessions during the lighter months (currently free)
    • Access to swimming sessions (subject to availability)
    • Discounts at some sports retailers on production of Bedford Harriers membership card
    • Free or subsidised entry to some team events
    • Non-financial benefits, such as mental health, companionship, friendships etc!
    • Take part in Club warm ups/cool downs on training nights
    • Use of changing rooms, showers, toilets, lockers and car park at the Stadium, with access 7 days a week
  • What different types of training sessions do you run and what do they mean?

    The coaches will always explain how each session will work so that you know what to expect.  The type of session will vary, but some common types you’ll come across include:
    • Steady run – as the name suggests, you aim to run at a consistent pace throughout the session.  This should be well below the maximum pace you could maintain over the distance.
    • Tempo (or threshold) run – the aim is to run about 30 seconds per mile below your 5k race pace.  So, if your fastest parkrun time (say) is 31 minutes, that’s 10 minutes per mile – so your tempo pace would be 9:30.  Equivalently, it should be around the pace you can keep up for an hour. 

      The tempo pace is the hardest effort at which your body is able to clear as much lactate as it is producing whilst working comfortably hard.  Tempo runs are particularly beneficial for longer runs (say 10 miles plus).
    • Interval training – in simple terms, this is when you run faster for a short period or distance, followed by a longer period of recovery (where you run more slowly or walk briskly).  So, you might sprint for 15 seconds then recover for 2 minutes – then repeat several times.  Or you might aim for a minute of “effort” (ie faster than your normal pace but not all-out) followed by 3 minutes of recovery.  Ideally, your final interval should be run at the same pace as your first.  Interval training is a great way of building up your speed.
    • Fartlek - fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’.  Essentially, it’s a form of unstructured speedwork, involving periods of faster running mixed with periods of easy- or moderate-paced running.
  • What should I wear?

    When it’s dark you should wear a high-visibility jacket or bands to make sure that you can easily be seen by others.  Otherwise, it’s really up to you – some people always run in shorts, whereas others need more layers in winter.  You certainly don’t need to spend a fortune on the latest running kit!  We don’t recommend wearing ear or headphones and these are not allowed in most races.

    The most important bit of kit is your shoes – make sure you have shoes that fit well and are suitable for running.  Your coaches will be happy to give you further advice!
  • Are sessions suitable for those with health conditions and/or additional needs?

    Whilst we try to be as inclusive as possible, it depends on the session and the health conditions or additional needs.  The best thing to do would be to discuss your specific situation with your coaches or with the welcome volunteer at the Stadium.

Existing members

  • If I want to change training groups, what do I need do?

    If you want to change group – either temporarily or permanently – please speak to one of the coaches, either in your existing group or the one you want to join.  If you’re not sure who to speak to, you can ask the welcome volunteer at the stadium before a training session.
  • What are the benefits of being an England Athletics (EA) member?

    The main benefit of membership is that you get reduced price entry (typically £2 cheaper) to many races.  It currently (2024/25) costs £19 to join, so if you’re planning on entering at least around 9 races a year then you get your membership fee back.  Further details and how to affiliate are shown here
  • What is the difference between EA and ARC races?

    There are two different affiliating bodies for athletics clubs – England Athletics (EA) and the Association of Running Clubs (ARC).  The Club is affiliated with both bodies. 

    Races which have an ARC permit must meet certain standards and are covered by ARC’s insurance policy.  ARC races charge a levy of £2 to runners who are not members of an ARC-affiliated club.  As the Club is affiliated with the ARC, Club members do not have to pay this levy.  You may be asked to enter the Club name when you register for a race.

    Races which have an EA permit also charge a levy, typically £2, to runners who are not EA members.  Whilst the Club is affiliated with EA, this only covers the Club and not the members.  You therefore have to pay the levy unless you are an EA member.  When you register you may be asked to enter your EA unique reference number (URN), which you can find on the myAthletics portal on the EA website. 
  • How do I get my races shown on my Runner’s Page?

    Results for Club Championship and other local races are usually uploaded for any members entering as Harriers.  For other less common races or if your result has been missed, please send an email to with a screenshot of your result and a link to the results page asking for it to be added to your Runner’s Page.  It will usually be actioned within a few days.


  • What does the Club offer for members interested in triathlons?

    Lots!  Firstly we have coached swimming sessions on Tuesday evenings (for beginners) and Saturday mornings (for more experienced swimmers).  Places are limited and so priority is given to people who have been a member for at least a year and who are intending to take part in a multisport event within the next year.  A small charge is made for these sessions, with payment for the whole term being made in advance.

    During the summer, we run a Coached2Tri group, which provides additional swimming support (including introductions to open water swimming) and gives a structured training programme building up to a sprint triathlon in July/August.  This includes group cycling sessions and cycling skills training.

    We also have a running group specifically for triathletes, although many of our triathletes run with whichever group best suits their pace.
  • What are the different distances for multisport races?

    Triathlon events come in a wide range of different distances.  The most common are:






0.75k (0.5m)

20k (12m)

5k (3.1m)

Standard or Olympic

1.5k (0.9m)

40k (25m)

10k (6.2m)

Middle, Half, Half-Ironman or 70.3

1.9k (1.2m)

90k (56m)

21.2k (13.1m)

Full, Ironman or 140.6

3.9k (2.4m)

180.2k (112m)

42.2k (26.2m)

The distances are often only approximate – for example, the run in a standard distance triathlon might be, say 10.5k.
Other distances are also becoming increasingly common, such as Starter, Super-Sprint, Sprint Plus and Centurion, and some companies have their own brand names for different distances.
Aquabikes and aquathlons typically use the same distances, ie an Olympic distance aquathlon will be a 1.5k swim followed by a 10k run.
A standard duathlon will typically consist of a 10k run, a 40k bike and another 5k run.

  • There are triathlons, duathlons, aquabikes and aquathlons.  What’s the difference?

    Triathlons consist of a swim, a bike and a run.  Aquabikes and aquathlons both start with a swim, but the former has a bike (but no run) whereas the latter has a run (but no bike). 

    Duathlons are a little different as they consist of a run, followed by a bike, followed by another run.

    You may also come across Swim-Runs, which – obviously! - consist of a mix of swims and runs – the number of swims and runs varies between events.  More rarely, you may see quadrathlons (adding a kayak after the swim).