Cross Country vs Track Running: A Detailed Comparison

Most people consider running as one of the purest forms of exercise that offer plenty of health benefits without special equipment.

In athletics sport, it involves various events, but cross country running and track running are two of the most popular.

For most people, they consider these two sports as one but with different names that require the athlete to run to win the competition.

Professional athletes, though, know better and understand that there are specific differences between cross country vs track running.

To avoid confusion and for you to know which is better for you, let's learn more about these two types of running events.

History of Cross Country and Track Running

Track and field, in general, were established earlier than cross country, even if it was prohibited and had to be promoted again.

However, the cross country race became popular first compared to track running though both are well-loved and played by most athletes.

Here's a short overview of each of their rich history:

Cross Country Running

Officially, cross country running competitions began in 1837 by some English schools with a national championship organized on December 7, 1867, in London.

This first cross country championship was a non-exclusive event where anyone is allowed to join and compete.

The problem was since it was the first organized event, many errors caused misfortunes to a lot of participants like getting lost in the open course due to lack of markings.

Also, the competition began at five in the afternoon, adding to the difficulty of the players navigating the three and a half miles of muddy and hilly terrain.

Track Running

Track running together with other field activities was first associated with religious events exclusive for men. It was considered one of the oldest types of sports in history.

From 776 BC, these popular events lasted for 11 centuries until the Christian emperor banned the games in 394 AD.

England started to develop the sport as a new event in the 19th century, where English students meet to push and promote the game.

It was in 1849 when the Royal Military Academy arranged the first modern track and field competition.

It was only in the 1860s, though, when it became popular, and the new Amateur Athletic Club organized the first English championships for men.

The sport became well-known in the USA after the New York Athletic Club came into existence in 1868.

The game of track-and-field became an international sport in 1896 during the first Olympic Games in modern times.

The International Athletic Amateur Federation, established in 1913, is represented by participants from 16 countries.

It was tasked to create general guidelines for the sport and other official duties.

Female runners are not heard of until delegates from six countries decided to form an athletic federation exclusive to women in 1921.

They officially joined the International Athletic Amateur Federation in 1936.

Cross Country Running

Overview of the Two Sports

The general information about these two sports based on athletes and sport