Cross Country

Cross country takes place in the Lent term although there are many opportunities to run in both Advent and Trinity terms.

Everybody is welcome and we cater for those of all abilities from beginners to ‘elites’ and train during games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons with multiple ability based groups. Runners on the team can also expect to train on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays too.

We compete regularly in fixtures including the East Midlands Cross country league, the KHVIII relays in Coventry and the Warwickshire Schools Championships. We have had a number of pupils progress to compete at the prestigious English Schools cross country championships in March. We also have our own School running league, open to all students which are held every Monday.

Cross country running at Rugby School has a rich history. The School played a pivotal role in the development and spread of cross country running and developing into the sport it is today. Rugby can claim the oldest cross country run in the world, the Crick, dating back to 1837.

Running within the School emerged as a pastime at the turn of the 19th century with the bigside paper chases involving hares and hounds. The hares, normally the quickest runners, would run ahead and lay a trail of paper held within the bigside bags, hence why the captain of cross country is called the holder of the bigside bags. The hounds would chase the hares following the trail of paper they had left. This later evolved into the House running cup in the late 19th century, the first inter-house running contest.  

The Cross country team known as the VIII came into being in 1890. The first fixture followed in 1893 against Oxford hare and hounds. The first regular fixture was against the Thames hare and hounds club and this began in 1894. The first interschool fixture began in 1909 against Shrewsbury school and was recently revived. Fixtures against Uppingham, Bradfield and Bromsgrove followed.

Over the years Rugby School has nurtured many excellent runners. In 1853 W.F Green broke the world record for the mile at the Rugby School Games running 4 minutes 42 seconds, eclipsing the previous best of 4 minutes 56 seconds. More recently Chris Brasher moved through the ranks of the cross country club before going on to win the 3000m steeplechase in the 1956 Olympic Games and most famously set the pace for Roger Bannister in the first ever Sub 4 minute mile at Iffley Road in Oxford. To this day Rugby School continues to churn out county and national level runners.    


Rugby School closed its doors on March 17, 2020 and on 23 March our community was ‘virtually’ back together with students across the world engaged in a full timetable including co-curricular options with online music lessons and sports coaching, Chapel broadcasts and regular pastoral support all in place. Our Whole Person Whole Point ethos means that even in a pandemic, we can adapt and flourish. Find out more about joining our incredible community here