Oxford Cup

Oxford Cup, 1910

Oxford Cup, 1910

On a November day in 1896, TCS students gathered for the first running of the Oxford Challenge Cup (now known as the Oxford Cup). The event was sponsored by a group of Old Boys and was documented in the rulebook as a training race for the School's football players. The race was essentially an obstacle course, with students running almost seven kilometres, all the while hacking through brambles, scrambling over fences, hopping over the divots in farmers' fields, and manoeuvring through Gage's Creek. The Record of 1911 writes that for "weeks before the race the Flats… echoed with the groans of tortured runners." For the first half-century of its existence, only 10 runners competed in the race. Both of the two "flats" (equivalent to the current "houses") chose their best five runners to compete in the arduous and daunting race.

Preceding the Boston Marathon by one year, the Oxford Cup is amongst the oldest running races in North America. November 2015 marks the 120th running of the event.

The event has grown significantly over its history with, in recent years, approximately 600 people converging on the TCS campus each November to take part in the running of the Oxford Cup. Members of each of the School's current 10 houses and the Junior School routinely huddle together for last minute stretches, pep talks and rousing cheers. Parents, faculty, staff and alumni also wait at the start line, several accompanied by babies in strollers or dogs on leashes for what has become a TCS community annual event. The course as we know it today is much easier than the one students faced in the early years of the race. The current race now covers about five kilometres of the School's property and includes the challenging climb of Mount Trinity near its finish.

Read about the "dramatic fires" that marked the School's early history.