Track and field has an extremely long history at Western. The oldest artifact at the JP Metras Museum is actually an 1896 track and field medal won by Septimus Thompson, who was a student at the School of Medicine. Although most sources say that Western began hosting its annual field day as early as 1900, the Thompson 1896 medal suggests an even earlier beginning. There are also ribbons from field days in 1907 and 1908 currently in the UWO Medical Artifact Collection.
The early “field days” were both physical and social events enjoyed by the student population. Held in late October or early November the field days included events such as broad jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, 100-yard dash, 220-yard dash, half-mile race, 440-yard race, mile race, relay races, bicycle race, throwing a cricket ball, kicking a football and a tug-of-war. The event was held on the old Huron College grounds and helped promote a rivalry between the School of Medicine and Huron College.
This annual field day appears to have continued up until at least 1918 when records show that the event was transformed into a Field Day Convocation Week held at Springbank Park. In 1918 the event included both standard track events and “stunts” and included female participants.