Throwback Cross Country Races That Every Runner Should Watch, Know

By Jesse Squire

November 15, 2017

In honor of this weekend’s NCAA cross country championships, we can find ourselves down a YouTube rabbit hole of classic XC races. I’ve decided to put together a few that many of our millennial readers may not be familiar with but definitely worth watching and knowing about.

Brace yourself for a fascinating trip down memory lane…

1971 NCAA Championships

November 22, Knoxville TN


Anything with Pre in it gains wide attention, but I also like that my old college uniform makes an appearance in the form of Dave Wottle (12th). North Dakota State was not a D-1 team at the time but the Bison’s Mike Slack qualified as the D-II champion and finished third. Enjoy the Steely Dan soundtrack.

1974 NCAA Championships

November 25, Bloomington IN


I don’t know if he did or not, but the video makes it look like Nick Rose beat the living crap out of the field. Between his hair and his running ability, he’s exactly who I wanted to be when I was 17 years old. He looked like a running Robert Plant.

1978 NCAA Championships

November 20, Madison WI


See all that snow? Welcome to Wisconsin. The wind chill was reported as -20°. We might get that next year when the championships return to Madison. This was the last race in Henry Rono’s stunning 1978 season and he finally appeared human: he finished fourth from last after an early mishap while Alberto Salazar won. This might have been the deepest level of talent in any NCAA cross country championships: the field included Salazar, Rono, Michael Musyoki, Suleiman Nyambui, Rudy Chapa, Jim Spivey, Ken Martin, Doug Padilla, Bruce Bickford, and Mark Nenow among others. SI even covered the meet.

Jesse Squire

I was second in the 1980 Olympic* long jump. (*Cub Scout Olympics, Pack 99, 9-10 age group.)