With four weeks to go until Greater Victoria hosts the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships, 11 countries have so far confirmed their attendance to run the challenging course at Bear Mountain Resort, Langford on Saturday, February 29. The countries are Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.
The athletes will compete in four races – two junior and two senior races, male and female. The junior men’s race will be over an 8km distance, and the women athletes will run 6km. Both the senior men and women run 10km, in what has been described as one of the most challenging courses in Pan Am XC history.
“This is the first time that Greater Victoria has hosted such an international field of cross country runners,” says Bruce Deacon, the event’s General Manager. “In the past, this event has been contested on flat courses and the Bear Mountain course will definitely test the athletes who are used to racing on flat grassy fields. This is a tough course.”
In addition to the national competition at the Pan Am XC Cup there are a series of races that are open to the public.
The 5km Community Race kicks off the day’s festival of running where participants will be able to run the championship course which including hills, mud and a sand pit! The Nations Cup for students in grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 has a schools challenge with schools being designated a country and they run in t-shirts with the country’s team colours. For older students – grades 9 – 12 – there is the Pacific Northwest Youth Cup where teams of five boys and five girls can score points to determine the fastest city team. Canada and USA rivalry in cross country running will be seen up close at the Can Am Masters Challenge. Canada leads the challenge series over the USA 18 – 14 and is undefeated on Canadian soil.
“We have races for everyone from school kids to recreational runners to top masters athletes,” Deacon explains. “This is a festival of cross country running and you won’t want to miss it!”