History of VI Cross Country

            VI Cross Country was 1st organized in 1930. The initial intention of the cross country was to encourage all the flabby non-sportsmen into shape. There were 30 participants from 6 different houses (Shaw, Hepponstall, Treacher, Thamboosamy, Davidson and Yap Kwan Seng) took part in the 1st year of VI Cross Country. During that time, Yap Kwan Seng became House Champion.
            Figure 1 shows the original route for the VI Cross Country. These original route was given code names such as ‘Dobi Valley’,’Bridge’ and ‘River’, the longest route was estimated to be around three and a half miles.

Figure 1: Original route for VI Cross Country.

            After war, the new V.I headmaster Dr. G.E.D. Lewis revived the VI Cross Country run back in 1956. These route took participants out of the school ground to the Old Airport Road and Jalan Kerayong towards the Chinese cemetery area. Then passed through ‘Dobi Valley’ to downhill along Hose Road and back to Shaw Road (Jalan Hang Tuah). The finish line was located in front of Pavillion at VI field.

             In the first run a total of 645 boys - more than half of those who took part were qualified. Shaw had 96 boys who beat the deadline, Yap Kwan Seng (89 boys), and Hepponstall (86 boys). The fastest time was returned, quite astonishingly, by K. Sivanasan (refer figure 2). K.Sivanasan was a Yap Kwan Seng representative from Form 1; Class Three romped home effortlessly ahead of the pack, including the senior boys, in a mere 20 minutes 43 seconds. 

Figure 2: 1956 Champion; K.Sivanasan

            During 1960’s other schools had taken up Cross-Country Running and it was inevitable that the V.I. would throw down the gauntlet for other schools to take up. V.I. participants travelled to Ipoh during that year to run against Anderson School for a new annual Challenge Trophy; a gift donated from Dr. Lewis. Apart from meeting fellow Anderson School participants during the event, the run took the VI participants over spectacular view of tin mining country in the Kinta Valley. For the next five or six years, VI decided to challenge other Kuala Lumpur schools like St Gabriel's School and St John's School in Cross Country Runs either at their own meets or in organised events by the Secondary School Sports Council.   

 Figure 3: Other school participants in Cross Country run.

            In 1975, girl’s category was introduced in Cross Country run. By now the boys' route was remapped to take them past a cemetery and a kampung, across streams and a few hills and valleys. Red Crescent members were placed at strategic points along the route for emergency purposes. In addition, to discourage any illegal short cuts, participants had to collect two coloured markers at certain checkpoints to take back with them until the finish line. Since 1973, one of the main goal of the run was to aid raise funds for the school; also known as the Crossathon. In 1976, over $6,300 was collected from the students' sponsors to pay for new sports equipment and for the resurfacing of the cricket pitch and basketball courts.

            By the 1980’s, the Cross Country run were divided into five age groups - Under 20, Under 16, Under 15, Under 14, and Under 13 - to promote keener competition. The run was held on Sunday, March 16, in a cloudy and cool weather. Due to the road construction, the participants have to take a detour which made the route longer than usual. A single qualifying time was set for the run. Only 373 boys were qualified with the best time being is 24 minutes 6.4 seconds. Yap Kwan Seng house was the champion with 64 points, Rodger house with 62 points grab second place while Shaw house at the third place with only 14 boys qualifying over 200 students. 

Figure 4: Participants in Cross Country run.

            The run over the old route lasted until around 1983 or 1984. Due to urban development along the traditional route, it was nearly impossible to proceed the run in the same usual route. The organizer faced difficulties in getting a police permit and changes in the route because of the construction of new highways. They decided to transfer the run to the Lake Gardens and held on weekends.

            In addition, there was a special event, ‘Hundred Years Run’ in 1993 organised by school together with the involvement of the V.I. Parents and Teachers Association to honour the School's Centenary. During these run, the organizer included an Old Boys section. The route took the participants up until Jalan Lapangan Terbang into the cemetery area, passed through Alice Smith School to emerge at the side of Kuen Cheng Girls' Secondary School on Jalan Syed Putra. Then through Kampung Attap and passed through the Chinese Assembly Hall and finally through Jalan Changkat Stadium and return back to the school ground.

            Previously, there was also a run on 30th January 1994 called "Larian Rentas Kota". It started at the SRK Sultan Hishamuddin Alam Shah near National Bank, and took the participants through the Lake Gardens passed through Parliament House and back to the starting point.

            In 1995, there was a run called "Larian Berganti-ganti Jalan Raya" which took the participants on a short circuit out of the V.I., down Jalan Hang Tuah, along Jalan Maharajalela, up Jalan Changkat Stadium, then along Jalan Hang Jebat before finishing at the VI side entrance. It was actually a relay – where the boys ran in a team of four and passed sashes instead of batons. Lee Kuan Yew House finished sixth on that day but still crawling back to be overall house champion for that year beating Thamboosamy who won the cross-country relay in second place by over 70 points.

            After nearly 85 years of history, this year - VI Cross Country will be making a grand comeback. We will be looking forward to create beautiful and memorable memories and also spectacular experiences to be shared with all the Cross Country’s’ participant.