Grandfathers and great-grandfathers of Cross Country

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    “One of the most interesting events among races is Cross-Country” – That is how the chapter about “races through the country” in one of the most famous sport books of the beginning of the last century begins (page 148).

    The volume is “Races and field events” (‘les courses à pied et les concours athlétiques”) by De Fleurac and Faillot, published in 1911 in Paris by Pierre Lafitte, whose editions were located at the number 90, Avenue des Champs Elysées. The book is prefaced by Reverend Courcy-Laffan and starts with the following “The history of running is the history of the origin and evolution of our sport”.

    Another French book is partly dedicated to Cross Country (22 pages). It is the “Athletic Sports” (“Les Sports Athlétiques”) released in Paris in 1895 by the “Librairie Armand Colin” which I had the privilege to find in an antiquarian bookshop in the Barrio Alto of Lisbon. The two authors, Reichel and Mazzuchelli wrote “This branch of athletics has its origins in the habit of young people of following hunting, especially hare hunting.”

    IAAF article


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