The “Tucks” is an annual sports event hosted by Shrewsbury School where the whole school runs over 5 kilometres. Shrewsbury School has been recognised internationally as the “birthplace of cross-country running”, dating back to 1819.

Shrewsbury School is a co-educational independent day and boarding school in Shropshire, founded in 1552 by King Edward VI. The Royal Shrewsbury School Hunt (RSSH) is the oldest cross-country club in the world, founded in 1831 by Shrewsbury School. It created traditional running races hosted annually in Shrewsbury School, including the “Tucks” race, and the “paperchase” game. As a tradition, the Huntsman always yells an inspirational slogan, “All hounds who wish to run, run hard, run well, and may the devil take the hindmost”, followed by a blast of the bugle horn.

The “Tucks” is an annual whole-school race where over 700 pupils and staff run over some 3 ¼ miles. Throughout the race, there will be logs for runners to hurdle over. The race’s name originated from Mr Tucks, a local farmer in Shrewsbury in the Meole Village, who used to allow Shrewsbury pupils to run across his fields.

The Royal Shrewsbury School Hunt (RSSH) has been awarded in the category of “Culture” by the World Athletics Heritage Plaque for “an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking.” It has been recognised internationally as the “birthplace of cross-country running” since it holds the oldest written records for cross-country running in the world, dating back to 1831.

In 2018, Shrewsbury School relocated the “Tucks” to Attingham Park, home of an English country house and estate in Shropshire and a National Trust property. It marked a new chapter for cross-country running in Shrewsbury School and “renovated” this well-preserved tradition. In recent years, following the “Tucks”, Shrewsbury School also hosts an annual house singing competition, where all 12 boarding houses perform harmonising and entertaining singing. The house singing is not only an amusement for pupils and parents, but also a meaningful charity event where the school raises money for local community groups, this year being Shrewsbury Foodbank.

Unfortunately, this year, due to adverse weather conditions, this historical tradition of Shrewsbury School, the “Tucks”, has been postponed. “It’s a shame that the ‘Tucks’ got postponed this year. I really enjoyed it last year. It brings such a feeling of unrestricted freedom running across the park,” Jeremy Cheung, a pupil at Shrewsbury School, grieves upon the postponement of the “Tucks”. Although he is heavily dedicated to academic pursuits at Shrewsbury School, he finds solace in running the “Tucks”, which relieves him from his scholarly responsibilities.

The "Tucks" has always been a valued custom at Shrewsbury School, and their international recognition as the "birthplace of cross-country running" encourages the continued preservation of this time-honoured historical convention. Let us embrace the enduring spirit of the “Tucks” and be part of its legacy!