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Cross Country

Version control: Original 1999 / Updated 2003 / Updated 2015/ Updated February 2023/ Updated March 2023




You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity (PDF 466KB) to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.

Parents or caregivers must be informed of full details of the location, supervision to be provided and activities to be undertaken when seeking their written permission.

Students are to be instructed to wear appropriate footwear. Spiked footwear is not permitted in primary school events.

Clothing should not restrict movement. Lightweight tops are recommended.

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Teacher/Instructor Qualifications and Experience

The teacher/instructor must have appropriate expertise and/or training in teaching/coaching of cross country activities.

Athletics Australia offers the following accreditation courses:

A teacher must be present who has recognised current training in emergency care.

Specific sport support for Cross Country is provided in the Teacher resource hub.

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Principals and organising teachers should take into account such factors as age and experience of the students and the nature of the course when arranging supervision. A teacher must be present who has recognised current training in emergency care.

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Public roads must be avoided.

When selecting the course, organisers should consider the:

  • Age, number of students taking part and their physical capabilities
  • Type of surface and terrain over which the race will take place
  • Potential dangers of obstacles, including water crossings, on the course
  • Supervision to be provided on the course.

The starting area should be of sufficient width to ensure a safe and fair start. Narrow starting chutes are to be avoided. The first 200-300 metres of the course should be straight and clear of obstacles and spectators.

For competition events, participants should be given an opportunity to view the course. A funnel or chute finish is recommended to provide adequate access for all competitors.

Where possible, there should be vehicular access to all sections of the course.

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Prevailing and anticipated environmental conditions must be considered when scheduling cross country events. Should extreme weather conditions prevail on the day of the event, the activity should be postponed.

In warm weather, dehydration can be a major problem. Students should be encouraged to consume fluids prior to and on completion of events. Water should be available start and finish area. Drink stations must be established where the design and distance warrant such measures.

The demands on the cardio-vascular and respiratory systems during high rates of energy production can cause high levels of stress in the young and unfit. Events and courses should be selected for students after considering their stage of growth, development and fitness level.

The course should not be so onerous as to place the participants under physical duress. The activity should be planned as a culminating event where students have had prior planned opportunities to prepare physically for the event. Students should be instructed to proceed ‘at their own pace’ to avoid over exertion.

Students should be encouraged to warm up prior to all practice and competition.

Course officials need to be located at strategic vantage points to ensure total course supervision. Course officials located at course extremities, should have access to a communications link.

Students are to be instructed to use adequate sun protection, e.g. an SPF50+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen reapplied regularly and a hat where appropriate.

A well-equipped medical kit must be readily available. Asthma medication should be carried by competitors as required. Where possible, ice should be available for the treatment of injuries.

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