A to Z of Running

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Annual Dinner

The Club holds a black tie annual dinner on Wednesday 8th week of Hilary term, after the Teddy Hall Relays.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

This is held towards the end of Hilary Term. Reports for the previous year are given and the new committee is elected.


A Blue is an honour given to an Oxford or Cambridge sportsperson who competes at the highest level in their chosen discipline. Qualification varies for different sports, but always includes competing in the Varsity Match. For cross country, a Full Blue is awarded, at the Captain's discretion, to those who compete in the Varsity Match. Thus, 'the Blues' refers to the first team, consisting of eight runners for the men's race, and six for the women's.

Boars Hill

A typical Sunday morning long run. The usual route is about 9 miles but can be made into 7 or 11 as well. Has a lovely view of Oxford on the way back but is quite tricky to find the route, so make sure you stick with someone who knows where they are going.


British Universities and Colleges Sport (formerly BUSA and BUSF) organises inter-university competitions in nearly fifty sports, including cross country and athletics. Cross Country BUCS is held in early Hilary Term. Oxford have done very well in recent years, often placing in the top three in both mens and womens competitions. In 2003 the competition was partly organised by OUCCC and held in South Parks in Oxford.

Cambridge University

Traditional rivals of Oxford, they live in a bog and wear minty green which they call light blue. This rivalry comes to a head annually at the Varsity Match.


The club is current coached by former OUCCC captain Paddy Wallace. The coach, as well as running the sessions is on hand to offer individual advice and encouragement to runners of all abilities.


Cuppers competitions are inter-college races. Several of these are held during the year, forming a College League with an overall annual winner.

Hilly Sessions

Usually held at 10:00 on Saturday mornings on non-race days in South Parks. These can be hilly fartleks or reps up the hill. Good for X-C strength.

Hyde Park Relays

Relay event organised by Imperial College and held round the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Teams are six men and four women. Oxford traditionally does pretty well here.

Iffley Rd

Oxford's sports centre. Most importantly, the location of our running track, on which ex-Oxford student Roger Bannister set the first ever sub 4 minute mile in 1954. Also location for our track training and racing. From the city, go over Magdalen Bridge and right at the Plain roundabout. The sports complex is down Iffley Rd. on the right.

Marston Ferry

Road route often used for steady running in winter. Basically a triangle, it starts at the Rad Cam, goes up Banbury Rd, then right into Marston Rd all the way to Headington where it turns right again back down Headington Hill through St. Clement's and back into the city over Magdalen Bridge. It is also quite commonly run the other way round. Very simple route means people learn it fast and don't get lost even when it's dark.


Our sister club. If you're a member of one you're a member of the other. OUAC organises track and field, which many cross country runners do in summer. They also host track training sessions.


Slightly longer steady run involving some fields. Slightly complicated route so make sure you stick with someone the first time you do it. Good fun though.

Port Meadow

A large meadow in north-east Oxford. Big enough you can do runs just in it, or use the paths to take you along the Isis or canal. Also includes the Pre Loop.

Prefontaine Loop

Loop around the edge of a nature park in Port Meadow. Named after the legendary Steve Prefontaine, it's about 1.5 miles round.


Lightweight flat shoes for racing. These range for sensible shoes you can run a 10K race in to stupid things that weigh less than the tissue paper they came wrapped in. Some claim they can cut up to 30s off your 10K time. Some of them I'm not sure I'd make the full 10K in! Best saved for experienced runners.

Radcliffe Camera

Library in Radcliffe Square in the centre of town. Of no running importance whatsoever apart from the fact that this is where we meet for steady and long runs. Good place for getting random tourists asking you questions like, "What college is this?". This is a square!


I suppose reps strictly stands for repetitions but no-one would ever say that. These are fairly short times or distances which are run at a fairly fast pace with 'rest' in between. You usually do a few of them. They normally vary from 1-6 mins or 100-1000m and can be done on grass or track.


Oxford's home course for 2nds-5ths Varsity match. Also used for other races we organise. It's on top of a hill just outside the ring road and is set in a wood with lots of hills and often some mud in winter. Usual course is one lap for ladies and two for gentlemen. Has a reputation for steep hills and a propensity for getting lost. Most people have a love/hate relationship with the place.


Apparently there are other ways of having fun apart from running. A scurrilous rumour I think, but if you're curious the club organises various socials throughout the year. These range from bar crawls, comedy nights, jazz, formals halls, discos and the legendary club annual dinner after Teddy Hall Relays.

South Parks

Although it is only in fact one park, I think people avoid calling it South Park for obvious reasons. This is a large park on a hill which was also once the scene of a famous Radiohead concert. We use it for hill training, fartleks and sometimes races too. To get there, go out of the city over Magdalen Bridge and take the left hand turn at the Plain Roundabout. Go through St. Clements until you reach the traffic lights at the bottom of Headington Hill. The park is on your right.


Light shoes with spikes on the bottom. These come in two main varieties. Cross country spikes are useful for plugging through mud and are often used with 6-15mm spikes. 12mm is a good all-round size. I was once offered 22mm by Elmer Cotton. I think that would count as carrying an offensive weapon! Worth getting a pair if you intend to race cross-country. Track spikes come in many flavours depending on your event. They have smaller spikes. Check with the track you're running on as most have a maximum spike length allowed. I can't actually remember what this is for Iffley Rd. Both types are generally cheaper than road shoes. Check out Up & Running in Headington. You get club discount.

Steve Prefontaine

Legendary American runner of the 70's worshipped by some members of the club. Famous for his fierce running style and fantastic quotes, he held the American record in every distance over one mile. He died aged 24 in a car crash. Witness T-shirts and posters with such gems as, "Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it." Awesome.


Cambridge -> Cantabularis -> Cantab -> Tab. Thus a derogatory term for a Cambridge student. The plural "Tabs" is often used in conjunction with "shoe" and "the". I don't where the shoe bit came from. "Shoe The Tabs" is often heard at Varsity matches and has even appeared in massive letters on beaches in Norfolk.

Teddy Hall Relays

The largest mid-week relays in the world! Traditionally held on Wednesday 8th week in Hilary term, this is a relay event organised by the club starting and ending at Iffley Rd. Each lap is about 3.6 miles. Teams conists of four people for mens and mixed, three for women.

Thames Hare and Hounds

World's oldest cross-country club, based in London and organise the Blues Varsity Match on Wimbledon Common, as well as having many ex. Oxbridge members. We have a mob match against them in Michaelmas Term.

Three Bridges

A favourite winter steady. Run clockwise it goes over Magdalen Bridge, up Headington Hill, right into Gypsey Lane, down Divinity Rd, along Cowley Rd a bit then cut across to Iffley Rd. Go over Donnington Bridge and then back into the city up Abingdon Rd. About 5.5 miles.


Of the running variety preferably. Man-made 400m track run anti-clockwise. Good for getting measures of performace. Bad if you have dodgy shins or calves. Our track is at Iffley Rd. Also the home of the track fairies known as OUAC.

University Parks

Large flat park between Parks Rd, South Parks Rd, the Cherwell and Norham Gardens. Close to university science area, Linacre and LMH. Used in Michaelmas and Hilary terms for Tuesday grass reps sessions. We meet at the big clump of trees in the middle of the main section of the park, near the cricket pavillion.

Varsity Match

Varsity matches are held against Cambridge University in many sports - even juggling. Cross country Varsity match is split into two events on consecutive weekends. The Blues (1st team) VM is held on Saturday 8th week Michaelmas Term on Wimbledon Common. Teams are eight men and six women. The 2nd-4th teams matches are held a week earlier, the venue alternating between Shotover, Oxford and Wandlebury Common, Cambridge.

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