Cross country at King Edward VII School became a popular pastime during the early 80’s, and paralleled the worldwide boom in popularity of distance running at the time. The school was fortunate to have educators in the early years of cross country who were keen runners themselves and assisted in building the club to its current status. King Edward hosts 2 yearly meetings, the inter-house cross country event, and an inter school event. The Inter House Cross Country meeting is a mass participation event which every boy in the school is obligated to compete in, as a result it is one of the biggest sporting events that the school hosts, with more than 1000 boys participating each year. Traditionally the inter house cross country course began at Old Ed’s and ran through James and Ethel Gray Park, but with the increase in competitors in recent years and the increasing strictness of rules regarding road races, it has become necessary to move the race back to the school campus. Today the inter house cross country is run as a 2 lap course around the school and surrounding streets.
King Edward VII School participates in the Central District Cross Country league which comprises teams from Affies, Pretoria Boys High, Helpmekaar, Parktown, Jeppe, St Benedicts, Queens High School, Edenvale High, Edenglen High, King David Linksfield and Sandringham High School, as well as a number of local girls schools. The central district cross country league is generally the strongest of all the Gauteng leagues, with the winner of the central district also winning the inter district meeting for the past 13 years. King Edward VII School hosts one inter schools meeting each year, and this race is traditionally run around Zoo Lake.
There is a definite link between the performance of the cross country team and the fortunes of the school athletics team because many of the cross country runners represent the athletics team in the middle distances. In order to improve both areas, King Edward VII School has employed Lungile Bikwane, a professional running coach. Lungile is widely regarded as one of the foremost running coaches in the country, and his athletes have participated in the South African Schools and Club Championships, Yellow Pages Meetings, Commonwealth Games, All Africa Games and IAAF Grand Prix series.
The effects of Lungile’s coaching became apparent 1 year after he began coaching at KES when the senior boys cross country team won the Central District Championship in 2011 for the first time since 2000. The boys then went on and won the inter district title too!