The Chris Brasher College League consists of 5 races during the Michaelmas and Lent terms. The first event is the Freshers’ Fun Run, scheduled for the first Saturday of Michaelmas term. This is followed by a proper cross-country race at Fen Ditton, in mid-to-late October. Cuppers takes place in mid-November at Wandlebury. This is a stand-alone college championship race and most years does not count as part of the College League. It is also the main selection race for the Varsity Match teams. In the Lent term there are two more races: Coldham’s Common, which duplicates as the selection race for BUCS, and the Selwyn Relays which will determine the season’s top colleges.
In the 2004-05 season, the College League was renamed after Chris Brasher, one of the greatest athletes ever to run for Cambridge. Chris studied at St John’s College and went on to win gold in the steeplechase at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. He sadly died on February 28th 2003, but having also founded the London Marathon, his legacy will always remain.
2017 men’s times: 16:29-31:10
2017 women’s times: 19:18-31:10
2017 was a change from previous years with no separate men’s and women’s races, but a single combined race around West Cambridge, but still with separate men’s and women’s team scoring. The race starts from the athletics track at Wilberforce Road. All runners head along Wilberforce Road before turning left along Madingley Road, then turning left to go through the Cavendish site, then turning left along the cycle track which takes them back to Wilberforce Road. This loop is completed twice, and then after the second loop the route turns right towards the track and the finish line.
This run usually attracts all standards of runners and is brilliant for anyone considering doing cross country. The race has no hills and is all on tarmac.
Men’s Distance: 8km
2016 men’s times: 26.37-42:19
Women’s Distance: 5.7km
2016 women’s times: 20:47-34:48
The Fen Ditton Dash, running (logically enough) through Fen Ditton, over the Railway Bridge, and back by the river path, provides some of the year’s most diverse terrain, and has also been known to involve some exciting weather (horizontal blizzards, anyone?). Battle through it all, and you can earn precious league points for your college and the satisfaction of knowing you conquered the some of toughest Cambridge has to offer.
Men’s Distance: 10.43km
2016 men’s times: 33:33-60:22
Women’s Distance: 5.5km
2016 women’s times: 20:43-27:31
This is the selection race for the II-IVs and the Blues Varsity Match. It is a stand-alone college championship race and does not contribute to the College League. Until 2015, the race was at Wandlebury, but in 2016 we moved to pastures new at Priory Park, St Neots. The course is fast and flat mostly on good grass, with some short sections on narrow woodland trails. It also forms the II-IVs Varsity Match course in even years.
Men’s Distance: 10 km
2019 men’s times 29:31-38:52
women’s distance: 5.3 km
2019 women’s times 19:48-26:14
The first race back after the Christmas break, Coldham’s Common a quick dash around one of the lesser visited parks in Cambridge. There are sports pitches, long grass and woodland trails to travers, and some years there’s even a short sharp hill thrown in, which was built for the 1972 International Cross Country Championships! This race is also used for selection for the men’s BUCS A team.
Men’s Distance: 3 x ~4.5km
2017 men’s times: 12:54-19:23
Women’s Distance: 3x ~4.5km
2017 women’s times: 14:45-19:09
The final college league race, the Selwyn Relays (4 legs men, 3 legs women) provide an exciting and enjoyable conclusion to CUHH’s inter-collegiate competition. The flat, fast 4k starts at Wilberforce Road Track and heads the Cavendish Labs and Wilberforce Road track, demanding a balance of speed, tenacity, and endurance. The standings of the relays frequently decide college and individual championships in the College League, adding a bit of extra motivation over the final sprint.
The meet is followed by the presentation of College League awards and the consumption of delicious cake in the Wilberforce complex, the announcement of final league standings, and most importantly a celebration of a terrific year of intercollegiate competition. The Selwyn Relays epitomize the spirit of CUHH—friendly but robust rivalries, a love of running, and a true sense of camaraderie.