Wednesday 1st February 2023

Getting To Know Cross Country

Want to know more about Cross Country before joining a society? Here’s a quick overview of the sport and what SSS has to offer.

Cross Country is a style of long-distance running. Unique to the sport, Cross Country takes place on natural terrain, usually found within the countryside area. This means that runners may potentially run along roads, grass, mud and wet areas. Cross Country was first introduced in 19th century England and has become a very popular school sport.

The rules of Cross Country are very simple. A group of runners compete against each other to run along a course (typically 4-12km), which can either be one long track or a lapped shorter track. In individual races, the winner is the racer who reaches the finish line first. In team races, the winner is determined by the placement of each team’s individual racer. The team with the highest average placement will be deemed the winner. There is also a more immediately accessible version of Cross Country called the slow race, the goal of which is to finish in last place without stopping.

Cross Country has a peculiar relationship with the Olympics. The sport was contested between 1912-24 but fell into controversy after a heatwave at the 1924 Paris Games where some runners fell unconscious under the heat with two runners falsely being reported as having died. Cross Country does still exist in the Olympics, being a discipline in the Modern Pentathlon event.

The most prestigious Cross Country event is the IAAF Cross Country Championships. In the 2019 edition, all gold medals were won by athletes from either Ethiopia, Kenya or Uganda. The last medal won by Great Britain at the event was the Junior Women’s 6km team event, where they gained bronze.

Cross Country is a very popular sport with many events for potential runners. These include the Winter League, Cross Country Championship, 5km Relay Championship, Half Marathon Championship, 10km Road Race Championship, Hill Running Championship and Inter-District Championships. So, there is plenty of opportunities to get involved.

To learn more, click the following link: Cross Country – Scottish Student Sport

If you’re interested in joining a Cross Country club, click the following links (note, these are mostly Athletics societies, so it is best to contact them about Cross Country before joining):


Abertay University:

City of Glasgow College:

Edinburgh College:

Edinburgh Napier University:

Glasgow Caledonian University:–8

Heriot-Watt University:


University of Aberdeen:

University of Dundee:

University of Edinburgh:

University of Glasgow:

University of St. Andrews:

University of Stirling:

University of Strathclyde:


Sports Chair: Gregor Malcolm –

Governing Body: Scottish Athletics –

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