Before the modern Olympic movement there was the United Hospitals Athletics Club (UHAC).
The UHAC itself may no longer be operational, but the United Hospitals Athletics Championships associated with the club are still very much alive.
On May 31, 1867, the UHAC was formed at the West Brompton running grounds by Mr S Edwin Jolly. Eligible members were students on a medically-related degree at King’s, Guys, London, St Thomas’s, University College, St George’s and St Mary’s.
An annual meeting hosted by the UHAC featured events such as the 100 yards, 250 yards, 880 yards, 1 mile, 2 miles, 120 yard Hurdle Race, 440 yard Hurdle Race, High Jump, Long Jump, Hammer, Cricket Ball Throw, Stone Put, Three Legged Race and the 250 yards Consolation Race.
Such was the thirst for athletics in the late 1880’s, the fourth meeting of the Championships had to be moved to the A.A.C Grounds in Lille Bridge to cater for a crowd of over 3,000 spectators. By the end of the 19th century, the club held the championships at Stamford Bridge – the home of the London Athletics Club.
The United Hospitals Athletics Shield was given to the medical school with the largest number of points at the end of each championship. This has been awarded annually since 1867 and is literally priceless. Individual medals are no longer awarded, but one will be on display at the UHAC championships as part of the LUCA indoors competition (see fixtures list) on November 27th 2016.
Since the demise of the UHAC, the championships have been incorporated into other competitions; first into the ‘University of London Championships’ and more recently into the LUCA Indoor Championships. The shield is currently held by Imperial, who have won the championships for the last couple of decades.
Since 1887, the medical schools associated with UHAC have gone through extensive mergers and reconfigurations. The medical schools now eligible for the competition are: Imperial, GKT (part of King’s), University College London, Barts, Royal Veterinary College and St George’s.
This year, the competition is one of three championships being run at LUCA Indoors (alongside the University of London Championships and the LUCA Championships). Any competing medics will have their scores counted and team scores will be calculated for the shield.
More information on the Indoor Championships can be found here.