The Achilles Club traces its roots back to the first Oxford v Cambridge Athletic Sports (‘Varsity Match’) of 1864, an event it continues to help stage each year. The Club rose to the forefront of British and world athletics and members have won 18 Olympic Gold Medals, 17 Silver and 15 Bronze and held 38 World Records. Members continue to achieve the highest international success and to hold administrative posts of great influence within the sport.
All OUAC members who have competed for the University against Cambridge are invited to join the Achilles Club. The Club is exclusively for past and present OUAC and CUAC members and exists to help strengthen and maintain for life the friendships forged between University club mates and their rivals at ‘the other place’.
The Achilles Club today is much more than a conventional athletics club and it underpins many of the key activities of OUAC and CUAC:
Every fourth year (including 2021) Achilles arranges a tour to the US for a series of matches against the Ivy League Universities: Penn-Cornell and Harvard-Yale. This tour is open to current students and recent alumni from Oxford and Cambridge. All OUAC members are eligible for consideration for selection for one such tour. In the intervening years, Achilles hosts reciprocal matches for the visiting American teams. The club arranges other major overseas tours open to all Achilles members. These are an amazing way of broadening athletic, social and geographic horizons. In recent years, Achilles teams have toured to Austria, China, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and South Africa as well as undertaking shorter domestic trips to e.g. the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight.
Achilles enters teams for several matches in the UK each year such as the London Inter Club Challenge and the Kinnaird and Sward meeting. These offer good-quality competition and prove to be a great opportunity for past and present members of OUAC and CUAC to compete together.
Several Achilles events are held each year such as the Post-Varsity Match Dinner, the American Achilles Foundation Dinner and the Achilles Olympic Gathering. Impromptu drinks, barbecues and curries after matches are commonplace. The annual newsletter provides a forum for organising reunions and other gatherings and for reflecting on the achievements of members.
Achilles helps encourage and develop the next generation of athletes. OUAC could not function in the way it does without the finance it receives from Achilles Club subscriptions and voluntary charitable donations to the Achilles Trust. Funds go towards OUAC coaching, warm weather training and subsidising the Transatlantic Series. As well as this, a large part of the organisational structure which gives continuity to events like the Varsity Match is provided by the Achilles Club. The President, Captains and Honorary Secretary of OUAC and our immediate Past-President are all ex officio members of the Achilles Club committee.
How do I join?
Membership is £10 per year for students and includes a free vest. Just fill out the form below to join. To find out more about the Achilles Club, take a look at their website via the link below. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact our Achilles Rep whose contact details are on our Committee Page.