Wigan Grammar School

Cross Country


Ainscough leads in 1954
Cross-country runs were held on odd occasions by the School before they became an annual event.  Three were held in 1915 which were apparently found very enjoyable by the participants.  It was in 1929 however that senior and junior cross-country runs were established as House competitions.  The original courses of about 4½ mils for the seniors and 3 miles for the juniors were mapped out by Mr J W Jones, and the start and finish were at the Old Boys’ Ground at Standish.  These courses proved very satisfactory, and were not altered except that at the beginning of the Second World War all running across fields or on the mineral railway line was cut out.  This had the effect of shortening the junior course slightly, and the senior by about three-quarters of a mile.
Peet wins in 1950
The races were always team events, the first eight runners in each House constituting its team (six only for the senior team in later years).  Up to 1941 the results were included in the athletic sports, but since 1942 the cross-country was a separate competition and every competitor had a chance of scoring some points for his House by coming in within a certain time of the winner.  Gone now are the days like those of many years ago when one competitor was credibly reported to have walked round the course with his stick and his dog!
In 1957 competitors were divided into three classes to correspond with those in the athletic sports.  The junior course for boys under 14 was a shorter course; the intermediate, for boys of 14 and 15, was the same as the previous junior and the senior course was as before, but now restricted to boys over 16.  In addition to the usual points given to those finishing within certain times of the winner, all other competitors who completed the course were awarded ½ point.
In 1963 owing to the closures of the Rugby ground at Prospect Park, the cross country races were run over courses starting and finishing at Christopher Park.  For various reasons it was more convenient that they should take place in two sections, and so the senior and intermediate races were held on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 3rd, and the junior on Thursday, April 4th.
The start in 1957
The new courses produced new problems of organisation.  In addition some of the seniors went the wrong way, and the whole of the intermediates contented themselves, owing to some misdirection, with completing the junior course only.  In these circumstances the times achieved are not of much value, though the conditions and the weather were good, and good performances might well have been expected.
In December 1963 there was a separate competition of each form level (six in all) the best aggregate giving the overall winner.  The Wigan Schools’ League was newly formed in 1966.  The under 12, 14 and 15 teams won their sections and the under 13 team finished second.  The whole of the senior team was chosen to represent Wigan in the Lancaster Schools’ Championships in Liverpool.