Every year around the beginning of October, the whole of Shrewsbury School competes in a traditional race called the ‘Tucks’. Over 700 pupils plus around 100 teaching staff and 30 grounds staff decamp to Meole Village to race a 3.5 mile route.
The race is probably as old as the Royal Shrewsbury School Hunt Club itself, whose records go back to 1831. The name ‘Hunt’ is a little misleading, because the club was set up as a running club to enjoy the delights of the Shropshire countryside, and never intended to ‘hunt’ anything. Most of the early runs were of the ‘hash’ variety, where a trail is laid and the ‘hounds’ - pupils - follow it. The first one home is said to have ‘killed’.
The whole-school cross-country race was originally intended as a diversion, to stop the boys attending the horse race meets on the old Racecourse Lane site (now Shrewsbury Hospital). It is called the Tucks after the name of the farmer who owned one of the fields they ran across. His very generous wife would supply the runners with home brewed ale and cider! This is a tradition that has not survived…
Today the route begins in Meole Brace football pitch behind Meole Brace Primary School, crosses the Rea Brook, then goes up Pulley Lane, down Hanley Lane to the Red Hill, and then winds its way along the banks of the Rea Brook, and back to the start. The best runners can do this in less than 20 minutes.
In 2008, for the first time in its history, the race was open to girls when the Sixth Form became co-educational. Girls and boys alike now compete for the coveted Best House award and the pupil who wins the race (or ‘kills’, as it is known) is awarded the Hector Rose bowl.
Parents and Old Salopians are warmly invited to spectate (or even race themselves!).
Please see History of The Tucks for further detail.