This year’s Inter–District Championships event takes place at Beach Park, Irvine a venue that has host over 30 men’s and women’s National Championships and International events like the Celtic Nations. Many competitors and spectators today will remember Scottish Schools Championships also being hosted at the Beach Park.
The format of the Inter–District is that for each age group, each District can select 15 athletes to compete. In the Senior races a Scottish Students team is invited to compete with the 3 Districts. Each team race comprises 6 to count.
Tracing the history of the Inter–District Championships has proved to be difficult and is still not complete. The earliest known record is a woman's East v West match promoted by the SWCCU that took place on 6th January, 1968 at Fauldhouse. At that time North athletes competed as part of the East District. The records show that in season 1986-7 Northern Ireland were competing in the event and in 1990-1 a Scottish Universities team participated. The event continued annually until season 1993-4 with the formation of the Scottish Athletics Federation when the North District was added as a separate team.
On the men’s side the history is even less clear. On the 7th February, 1959 a race was run between the SCCU Districts at Ferniside, Edinburgh. There is evidence that the race was still going in season 1961-2 but there the trail goes cold. Many will remember a men's annual Scotland v Scottish Universities fixture in early December in the 1960s that often included the presence of a Northern Ireland team. This senior’s only men’s race was hosted by the Universities and continued until season 1992-3. Other teams competed from time to time like the Scottish Banks, Civil Service, Scottish Police and Scottish Local Authorities.
The SCCU East District minutes of March 1980 note a request to hold an Inter–District match. At the May meeting SCCU Secretary Ian Clifton announced that races for Senior Boys and Youths would be held in season 1980-1 on the basis of a 1 year trial. The races were held in conjunction with the SCCU/Scottish Universities event on the 13th December 1980 at Stirling University. Junior Boys were added the following year and a Senior Championship was added in 1987-8 at St Andrews University.
One year after the formation of the Scottish Athletics Federation the events were rationalised and brought together with the 1st Championships being held at Cumbernauld on the 12th December 1993.
The event transmuted into the Reebok Challenge at Cumbernauld in season 1998-99 and in 2001-2 moved to Holyrood Park. Incorporating the championships into the Reebok Challenge ended after season 2002-3. In 2003-4 the race was held in conjunction with the Celtic International Series in Ayr. It returned to Holyrood Park in season 2004-5 as part of the Great Edinburgh Cross Country.
In season 2018-9 the race moved to King’s Park, Stirling as part of the Great Stirling Cross Country and continued at Stirling in 2019-20 incorporating the UK Cross–Country Challenge.
More about the Inter–District Championship cab be found in the RR&CC Commission Archive at http://www.salroadrunningandcrosscountrymedalists.co.uk/index.html
President Scottish Athletics