About The Achilles Club
Achilles was formed in 1920, by and for the past and present members of Oxford University Athletics Club (OUAC) and
Cambridge University Athletics Club (CUAC), and is itself a registered athletics ("track and field") club. The Club traces its roots back to the first Oxford vs. Cambridge Athletic Sports
('Varsity Match') of 1864, an event it still helps to stage each year.
Since then, the Club has rapidly risen to the forefront of British and indeed world athletics,
and members have won 18 Olympic Gold Medals, 17 Silver and 15 Bronze, and held 38 World Records.
The Club exists to help strengthen and maintain for life the friendships forged between University club mates and their rivals at
'the other place'. To this end, The Achilles Club shoulders the following responsibilities:
As well as OUAC and CUAC, Achilles is also affiliated with Oxford University Cross-Country Club (OUCCC) and Cambridge University Hare & Hounds - the two Universities' respective Cross-Country Clubs;
and with Hawks' Club, Vincent's Club, The Ospreys, and Atalanta's Society, the Universities' respective sports clubs.
To be invited to join Achilles' illustrious membership is an honour, and is reserved exclusively for athletes who compete in Oxford v Cambridge matches. Election is for life and enables members to maintain contact with contemporaries long after they have gone down.
The Club exists to help strengthen and maintain for life the friendships forged between University club mates and their rivals at 'the other place'. To this end, The Achilles Club shoulders the following responsibilities:
The Varsity Match
The annual Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge is held in May, and has been taking place since 1864.
A detailed history, match statistics, results and records can be found on The Varsity Match page.
The Transatlantic Series Achilles competes biennially against Harvard & Yale in a match which originated in 1894: this is the world's oldest international fixture, and so predates the modern Olympics. The match location alternates between the UK and USA, and while in the USA (every fourth year), Achilles also competes against other Ivy League Unversities, including Pennsylvania and Cornell. In the intervening years, the Club hosts Ivy League Universities as they return to compete in the UK. The series offers a unique opportunity to mix with a different culture, face high quality competition, and forge transatlantic friendships.
Other major overseas tours are arranged which are open to all Achilles members, past and present students alike: these are a particularly enjoyable way of broadening athletic, social and geographic horizons. In 2008 we enjoyed a tour to Tuscany. In recent years Achilles teams have visited Singapore (winning 14 medals in their National Championships), Australia (where they were royally received by Sydney University AC), Estonia, Russia, Finland, France, Austria, China (twice), Japan, Hong Kong and South Africa, and undertaken shorter domestic trips to eg. Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight.
Achilles Schools' Relays
Two of the Achilles Club's objectives, set out in its Constitution, are to encourage the development of athletics at schools and to promote relay racing. The Achilles Schools Relays meeting fosters both of these aims, and for many years has been one of the highlights of schools' fixture lists.
Achilles enters teams for several matches in the UK each year. They offer good class competition and a friendly opportunity for past and present members of CUAC and OUAC to compete together.
Social Events and News
Several Achilles events are held each year, including dinners and dances. There is always a dinner for old members after the Varsity Match; a dinner in New York in October is another annual fixture; a Ball is often held in London; and impromptu barbecues and curries after matches are commonplace.
An annual magazine (the 'Annual Report') is circulated free to members, drawing together reports on Oxford v Cambridge and Achilles matches, rankings lists, news of members, reminiscences and many other items of interest. A fixture card is included, listing forthcoming Achilles events plus OUAC and CUAC events, social occasions and planned tours. Past Annual Reports can be viewed on the Archives page. Updated bulletins are circulated electronically.
Financial Support & Sponsors
OUAC and CUAC could not thrive in the way they do without the financial assistance they receive from Achilles members' subscriptions and older members' voluntary charitable donations to the Achilles Trust.
The Achilles Club is keen to hear from sponsors interested in supporting Oxford and Cambridge athletics. Please direct all enquiries to the Honorary Secretary.