International Cross-Country: 1912

The basic details of the race are all above but says nothing about the quality of the field in 1912.   For instance it was the second of three gold medals for the event won by Jean Bouin of France who was to lose his life just two years later in the first year of the 1914-18 war.   The top Scot – GCL Wallach who was fourth was one of the best runners the country has produced, Tom Jack was also part of the team, Scotland also had two of the three Hughes brothers running.      The Scottish team (88 pts) was second to England (41 pts) and in front of Ireland who were third (110 pts).   Before looking at the actual race, the question was about why they were being held in Edinburgh.   Colin Shiels explains:   “Edinburgh hosted the International championship race, the previous two times it had been held in Scotland being in the West, but the representatives of the competing countries had expressed strong desires to see the beauties of Scotland’s capital.   The organisers acquiesced and chose Saughton Park, the venue of the sports programme of the Scottish National Exhibition held in Edinburgh four years earlier.   Early in March, just three weeks before the event took place, the Glasgow Herald commented ‘It is not generally known that the ICCU championships will be held in Edinburgh on March 30th.   Cross-country running has generally a firmer hold in Glasgow and the West of Scotland but in other respects there could not be a more delightful venue for the race.   The trail will probably embrace the Corstorphine hills though that is a matter of detail still to be decided by the Scottish Union at an early date.”   

The trail we are told covered one mile round the track before leaving the track to go over 5 laps of rough cart track and three miles of grassland.   Scotland’s six counting runners all finished within the first 22 for the team to secure second place but it was a disappointing run for Tom Jack whose last for Scotland it would be.   He had some consolation when just a matter of weeks later he won the track 10 miles championship for the seventh time in nine years.   The race report in ‘The Scottish Referee’ read –

The result of the individual race, taken from wikipediea :

The race went well and the Scottish team once again brought home medals for the country to celebrate.   Wallach (pictured below) was the coming man who would run in this event four times before the War and five time after it with best performances of second in 1914. third in 1911 and fourth in 1912 and 1922.   He was first Scot home eight times.   Bouin’s death in September was a real tragedy – he had run in the international in Scotland in 1907 and again in 1912 but his record in these races was magnificent – three first places (1911, 1912 and 1913), silver in 1909, and a silver team medal in 1913,    Equally good on the track he had a silver at the 1912 Olympic Games in Paris – it could be said that the Scots saw him at his best in 1912.