The NSW Cross Country Championships has a long and rich history. The 2012 race this Saturday will be the 115th men’s race and 62nd women’s championship. The event has the longest history of any NSW winter championship, while the inaugural track championship was held two years earlier. The first men’s cross country championship was held on September 13, 1890, while the women’s started 65 years later on September 17, 1955.
The men’s race has been run annually since, except for two breaks, 1916 to 1918 and 1940 to 1943 caused by world wars and in 1900 when the clubs were being reformed on a district basis. In 1979, 1980 and 1981, both the NSW Women’s Amateur Athletics Association and the Amateur Athletic Association of NSW men’s association conducted a women’s championship. In 1982 both organisations had amalgamated and only one title was on offer.
First Men’s Championship
On September 13, 1890 the first NSW Cross Country Championship was conducted in the neighbourhood of Botany on Saturday afternoon. Four clubs competed – the Sydney Harriers, Darlinghurst Harriers, Parramatta Harriers and Roslyn Garden Club. The course was from the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel to the tram sheds, around Walsh’s wool-scouring works, through the scrub on La Perouse Rd. It was decided the first man home should be awarded the individual championship and that the first six representatives of any one club reaching home should secure the club championship.
The first man home was Corner of Sydney Harriers followed by his club mates White, Morgan and Wachamann.
Sydney Harriers secured the team title with places first, second, third, fourth, ninth and tenth.