Provincial Heritage Centre

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The History of the

Cape Times Cross Country Race


This trophy was introduced in 1923 after being donated to Scouting by The Cape Times Newspaper, and from the extracts in our archives of the period, it was certainly a tough race for Scouts.  I wonder how many of today’s Scouts are fit enough to retrace these routes?


Here are some reports from the 1920’s to give you an idea as to where it was run in the early days when traffic was not a problem.



This new trophy was up for competition this year for the first time on Saturday 1st September 1923. It was an eight mile (13km) relay race for teams of four Scouts under 18 years.

Check points were Newlands Station, Pinelands level crossing, Municipal abattoirs, Foreshore Road, Van Riebeeck's Statue. The first Simonstown starter failed to find any of his team and ran the whole eight miles himself. The Winners were 2nd Green & Sea Point (GASP)



The Cape Times Cross Country Trophy was competed for during the July school holidays, the course being from the top of Queens Road, Sea Point, round a marker at Kloof Nek, and then to the Cape Times Building in St George's Street. It was a stiff run and was referred to by Dr Dommisse, later Divisional Commissioner, who said it was not harmful to a physically fit boy, but should be limited to over thirteen’s.


An interesting thought is whether this course could be run today, or whether it would become an obstacle race! It does not seem so long ago, but in 1924 few Cape Town streets were tarred. The result: First – 1st Green & Sea Point in 23 minutes; Second – 7th Cape Town; Third – 2nd Green & Sea Point. There were no casualties.



Tygerberg Station to the Cape Times building in St George’s Street. Winners were 7th Cape Town (Gardens).



Newlands Station to the Cape Times building in St George’s Street. Winners were once again 7th Cape Town (Gardens)



And thus started the annual Scouting Cape Times Cross Country races. In more recent years the competition has been divided into two courses namely, a Junior and Senior course, thus allowing younger Scouts to compete as well. This Trophy is now also held in conjunction with the Annual Quinn (Scout Fun) competition, but the two trophies are judged separately.



The Heritage Team

May 2008