The NSW Novice Championship will be held at Scarborough Park, Ramsgate on Saturday 16 April 2016. Please visit Athletics NSW for online entry (Novice Championships only), timetable information & event rules.
In order to be considered eligible to race in the NSW Novice Cross Country Championship (Novice Men's 10km or Novice Women's 4km) athletes MUST NOT have placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a NSW State Cross Country, track, or hurdle event 3000m or above in the Open age group.
This includes the NSW Half Marathon and Marathon Championships (or similar events from other State Association competitions). In the unlikely event where an individual has not won a State medal, but has achieved a National or International medal, they will also be deemed as ineligible for the championship race.
The Novice was initiated by the East Sydney Amateur Athletic Club as a race at the commencement of the distance running season for novice runners - men who had never won a race in open competition of two miles or over. The race was designed to give these "novices" experience and confidence to meet their more seasoned and successful fellow athletes later in the season in the more classical events.
The first race was conducted from Lyne Park, Rose Bay on Saturday 10 June 1911. The cross country course comprised sandhills, creeks, fences and bush and was considered to be an ideal cross-country test. The inaugural champion was C.H. Foster representing East Sydney A.A.C. who completed the 5 miles course in 33min 26sec. Due to construction on the original course it was necessary to constantly alter the race route which prevented year-to-year comparisons of runner's times.
In 1928 the N.S.W. Amateur Athletics Association implemented a new rule that all long-distance open events were to be of a wholly cross-country nature, hence the race was moved to Bondi Beach. The race on 14 July 1928 was marred by controversary with runners unsure of the course, which was believed to be at least half a mile short of the prescribed 5 miles distance. N.S.W.A.A.A. deemed the results invalid and order a re-run which was completed on July 14.
The race moved again in 1929 to Kensington Racecourse, and comprised a cross-country course including the course proper, tan track & land around the racecourse. An eligibility dispute surrounding entry to the race saw the 1933 & 1934 events at Kensington Racecourse being controlled by N.S.W.A.A.A. as the "State Junior Cross Country Championship" and being open to runners who had not finished in leading places in the State 3, 10 & 15 miles; 10000m or prior Novice Championships. The race was designated "State Novice Cross Country Championship" from 1935.
In 1940 the race was moved to Scarborough Park, Ramsgate under the control of St George District Amateur Athletic Club. 2014 saw the 75th occasion that the NSW Novice Cross Country Championship race has been conducted at Scarborough Park. The course at Scarborough Park has varied slightly over the years, but it is essentially "around the lake".
A female championship was first added in 1979 and conducted over a 5km course. The inaugural champion was Anna Schroder representing the Wollongong Southern Flame club. The late Kerryn McCann (nee Hindmarsh) representing the same club was the 1980 champion. The distance of the female championship was reduced to 4km in 1983, and increased to 7km from 2012.
For a complete list of past champions, please visit our Novice Champions page.