International Cross-Country: 1952

The basic statistics for the race are above and the one to note is the number of events – only one race.   Into the 1950’s and after the Second World War there were still no championships at the top level for the ladies or the juniors.   This despite the fact that there had been women’s internationals, albeit unofficial ones, in the 1930’s.   I quote from elsewhere on this site: 

“Between 1931 and 1938, the International Cross Country Union organised four unofficial Championships for Women. These took place in 1931 (England, France, Belgium); 1932 (England, France); 1935 (England, Scotland); and 1938 (England, France, Belgium). Four more unofficial Championships were held between 1954 and 1957: these were contests between England and Scotland. For each country, there were up to six women in the team.

You will also note that there were seven countries involved and the distance was over 9 miles, and the winner was Alain Mimoun. from France.    Mimoun, who really was a wonderful athlete, would go on have a genuine rivalry with Emil Zatopek in which he was almost always second to the great man. However  Alain Mimoun won the 1956 Olympic  Marathon title, when Zatopek was sixth.


The Scottish team in 1952 was selected on the basis of the national championships,  held at Hamilton,    This was won by Eddie Bannon (Shettleston Harriers) from Andrew Ferguson of Highgate Harriers and Tommy Tracey of Springburn Harriers.   The team that actually ran  had Bannon and Tracey plus Andy Forbes, Bobby Reid, Chick Robertson and Junior champion David Nelson.       How did they do?   They performed better than the team that ran when the championships were last held in Scotland (1946) and better than had been expected by the athletics oracles of the day.   The report in the Scotsman read as follows.

As in 1946, France produced first individual and first team.   They won the team race from England by 29 points (35 to 64) with Belgium third (126), Scotlanf fourth (151), then Spain (165), Ireland (243) and Wales (307).   The first three –


It was another organisational triumph for Scotland with all their runners finishing within 50 yards or so of each other for a grand team performance.