British Colleges Sport runs Regional and National Cross Country events. FE Colleges have the opportunity to represent their region in the National Championships run by British Colleges Sport.  Please visit:  - our micro site which covers all things in relation to our Regional and National championships events.


In addition to the above competitions, BCS in 2012 held its first National Track & Field Championships in partnership with Gateshead College, due to this success this has now become an annual national event.  Please visit our event page for further information on the 2013 event.

What is Athletics?  

Athletics has evolved to include Cross Country 3a hugely varied assortment of athletic challenges for men and women of all ages. The complete list now includes track and field events, road running races, cross country races, mountain running and race walking events.

The IAAF is the Governing Body for World Athletics Track and Field.  Follow the link to the IAAF website for a brief description of each event 



Road Running

Road running has a long and rich tradition. Contests between "pedestrians" (usually with money at stake) were hugely popular in England in the 18th century and later in Europe and the USA. The great success of the first Olympic marathon race in Athens in 1896 helped popularise the marathon event, particularly in America. A marathon race was held in New York in September 1896 and the first Boston Marathon took place the following year. After the "jogging boom" of the late 1970s road running established itself as a populist athletic challenge.


Today, road running, from the humblest town centre fun run to the elite big city marathon events, has become the main sporting activity of many people. In addition to the most glamorous road racing event, the marathon, world championships have been staged also by the IAAF in recent years at the half marathon distance and for the road relay.


Cross Country

Cross country racing began in Britain, the first English Championship being staged in 1876 ... although all 32 runners went off course and the race was declared void!


International competition started in 1898 with a match between England and France, while in 1903 the International Championship was inaugurated. This has grown steadily over the years, particularly since 1973 when it came under the IAAF's jurisdiction and was renamed the World Cross Country Championships.


Race Walking


The XII and XIII century tradition of the English "footmen", who alternated running and walking as they accompanied their masters' coaches on long trips, inspired the walking competitions which were first held between 1775 and 1800 in England. These contests were over six days, 24 hours, etc.


In 1866 a 7 mile track walking race was introduced to the English Championships. In 1908 walking entered the Olympic Games in London with a 3500m and a 10 mile race. Those events were replaced in 1912 by one race at 10,000m. Two races were present again in the 1920 Games: 3000m and 10,000m.


In 1924 only the 10,000m race was retained but, in view of the large number of irregularities encountered, walking was eliminated altogether from the 1928 Games. Olympic walking was re-introduced in 1932 over 50km on the road with the 10,000m track walk also reinstated for 1948 and 1952. The standard Olympic road walking distances of 20km and 50km have been contested at each Olympics since 1956, except the 50km was dropped just for the 1976 Games.


Women's race walking contests were first recorded in Czechoslovakia in 1932.10km road competitions were part of the IAAF World Championships for the first time in 1987 and the Olympic Games in 1992. The distance was extended to 20km from the 1999 World Championships.


Mountain Running


After the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) had staged, since 1985, a successful event entitled 'the World Trophy', attracting entries from more than 30 countries the IAAF recognised Mountain Running in 2002.