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Cross-Country (RSSH)

Shrewsbury School crest

The RSSH is historic at Shrewsbury School and has the distinction of being the oldest cross-country club in the world.  Written records date from 1831, but the origins of organised cross-country running at the School can be traced back to 1819.

The Club was established after former Headmaster Dr Butler rejected a request from boys to form a mounted fox-hunting club. An alternative club was formed, with boys running across the Shropshire countryside instead of horses and hounds, but still based on the sport of hunting and using much of its terminology. Many of the old traditions remain today: 

  • The Captains of cross-country known as the Huntsman and Huntswoman. 
  • Their two deputies being the Senior and Junior Whips.
  • The younger runners being known as the Hounds.  
  • At the start of the school races – including the annual whole-school ‘Tucks’ run and the Inter-House Steeplechases and Paperchases – the Huntsman goes to the front of the pack and is heard to yell the encouraging command, “All hounds who wish to run, run hard, run well, and may the devil take the hindmost”.

World Athletics Heritage Plaque

Shrewsbury School is honoured to be named as one of seven recipients awarded with a World Athletics Heritage Plaque, as well as being an institution placed in the distinctive virtual Museum of World Athletics ‘Indoor Athletics and Out of Stadia Collections’. 

The World Athletics Heritage Plaque, a location-based recognition, is awarded for “an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out of stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking.” 

Shrewsbury School has been awarded the plaque alongside Japan’s first Olympic champion and the New York City Marathon, as well as five other sites across Europe and South America. The Royal Shrewsbury School Hunt (RSSH) has been awarded the plaque under the ‘Culture’ category. 

The Success of The Hunt

The club not only prides itself on its history and traditions but also on its successes and prominence on the National cross-country scene.  Notable recent Old Salopians include Oli Laws (SH 1993-98) (competing for GB at cross-country) and Oli Mott (Rb 1988-03) (British Universities), and the present generation of Hunt runners have themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, in recent years the club has swelled in numbers, with around 70 boys and girls regularly training and competing with the Hunt each season. 

Harrison Cutler (R 2017-2022) was a leading member of the RSSH team and alongside cross-country, he has also qualified to compete for Team GB at the European and World age-group championships in the Triathlon and Duathlon respectively.

Harry P-M (IV) competes not only for the RSSH but in the U15 North Staffordshire Cross-Country League where he has been undefeated in the last two campaigns. Harry now intends to compete in the National Cross-Country Series and also has aspirations to place in the top 10 for cross-country, 1500m, 800m, and 600m with a view to representing Team GB in the future.

We encourage runners of all abilities, priding ourselves on being a wholly welcoming and non-elitist club to which pupils of all abilities and ages can feel proud to belong.

An ITN/IAAF Productions film delving further into the fascinating history of the RSSH was broadcast at the World Cross-Country Championshipsmade. It is introduced by two-time World Cross-Country Silver Medallist, Tim Hutchings.


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