Bruce Deacon at the Nations Club launch at St Michaels University School

The Pan Am Cross Country Championships came a little closer today (October 24) with the launch of the schools race – the Nations Cup – which will be part of the race schedule on February 29, 2020. The Pan Ams XC Cup will take place at the Bear Mountain Golf Resort.

To garner interest and enthusiasm for the Nations Cup, a schools challenge was announced where schools will be designated a country and run in t-shirts with the country’s team colours.

“We are thrilled to offer elementary and middle school athletes the opportunity to race on the day in the Pan Am Nations Cup,” said Bruce Deacon, General Manager of the Pan Am Local Organizing Committee (LOC). “We will work with Greater Victoria’s rich multicultural community to connect schools with guest speakers from their country, and we will be launching learning activities for teachers to further engage their students.”

Students in grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 are eligible to race and a special draw will be made on January 31st to designate the country for each school. “This is a great fitness goal to inspire students to keep running through the wet winter months and to feel part of the action on the big race day. We are excited to open registration today and are encouraging schools to join the fun,” added Deacon.

The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup will bring teams from many of the 44 countries in North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean to test themselves over the challenging Bear Mountain course.

This will be the most prestigious international cross country running event that BC has ever hosted, and the first time that the Pan Am XC Cup has been to Canada.

Registration for the Nations Cup is open at:

The Victoria-based group Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) – learned Wednesday that their bid proposal was successful for the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup.

The Association of Panamerican Athletics and Athletics Canada informed VICCA of the news via email, “It is my pleasure and honour to inform you that the Association of Panamerican Athletics has selected Victoria as the 2020 site of the Pan Am Cross Country Cup,” wrote Victor Lopez, president of the APA.

“This is a wonderful day for Victoria as we have taken our critical first step towards bringing the 2023 World Cross Country Championships to Vancouver Island. This is a journey that will leave a lasting legacy that will get more kids excited about running,” said Bruce Deacon, two-time Olympian.

The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup will take place during the second or third weekend (TBD) of February at Bear Mountain on a course that will take in parts of the Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole Valley Course.

“I have directed cross country races in Victoria for 35 years and hosting the Pan American Cross Country Cup at Bear Mountain next February will certainly be one of the highlights besides the 1994 Commonwealth Games,” said Bob Reid VICCA committee member. “We have a very experienced and conscientious organizing team assembled and can assure that the event will be successful and well supported by all runners and running clubs on Vancouver Island. It is the first step in showcasing Victoria’s ability to stage a first-class cross country event to the world in hopes of applying for the World Cross Country Championships in 2023.”

The 2016 Cup was held in Vargas, Venezuela and the 2018 Cup was held in San Salvador, El Salvador. The five-star Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa will serve as host hotel in partnership with the four-star Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway.

“The bid would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire committee as well as the assistance by Jonathan McMillan at ‘94 Forward, Keith Wells CEO of the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission as well as support from the Tourism Event Program from Destination BC, VIA Sport and the City of Langford,” said bid chair Christopher Kelsall. “Additionally, we would like to thank BC Athletics, Athletics Canada and of course the Association of Panamerican Athletics and their council. The support of the Westin Bear Mountain Resort & Spa, Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club and Ecoasis is also greatly appreciated.”

“This event has never been held in North America, but in February of next year, runners from across the Americas will ‘Run Wild’ in Canada—at Bear Mountain. This is a great honour for our region and will help us immensely with our next goal of attracting the 2023 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.’

“We couldn’t ask for a more perfect backdrop than The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa to host, organize and celebrate international athletes as well as local school groups and participants. This is going to be a running festival that everyone will be able to participate in,” said Cathy Noel, race manager of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

The event hashtag is: #RunWild

Facebook event:

Course video, located at:


Mount Baker in the distance from the Bear Mountain Cross Country Course. Photo Credit: Joseph Camilleri.

© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated

A Victoria, BC group is in the process of putting together a bid to win the right to host the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup.

The cross-country meet is scheduled to take place in Canada during the third or fourth weekend of February 2020. The question is where? Apparently, the only other competing bid is from nearby Vancouver.

The deadline date to submit the bid is December 31, 2018.

“We are currently creating a society named Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA). The role of VICCA will be to seek out cross-country events to bid on and organize in Greater Victoria, including provincial, national, regional and international competitions. We want to help return cross-country to its former glory as the crown jewel in athletics. The venue we have identified, with its 5-star hotel resort as an athlete’s village and the stunning course – not only for spectators but for athletes too – will absolutely be a game changer for cross-country,” Said bid committee chair Christopher Kelsall, who is the managing editor of Athletics Illustrated and Victoria Sports News.

The group also includes local organizers from the sport of running including the long-time treasurer of the Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club, Bob Reid, Cathy Noel, who is currently the race manager of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and founder of the Goddess Run. Also, two-time Olympic marathon runner Bruce Deacon is part of the bid group.

“Bringing the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup to Victoria is an important first step towards hosting the 2023 World Championships; the ultimate prize,” said Deacon.

A few UVic Vikes, test out the course, rolling in the fringe of hole 18 in the Valley Course. Photo credit: Joseph Camilleri.

“I look forward to doing my part to help bring the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup to Victoria. With my experience as sport coordinator at the Commonwealth Games, race manager for the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and founder of the Goddess Run, I know we have the expertise and spirit in our community on Vancouver Island to host and involve all ages in a running festival.  The committee looks forward to people stepping up to volunteer to get involved. Contact information will be available soon,” Shared Cathy Noel.

Assisting the committee with the bid is Keith Wells, Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission. Wells is the founder of SendtoNews, one of the fastest growing tech companies in North America according to Deloitte with a 372% growth in revenue during 2018. In August, the Victoria-based company moved past ESPN to become the number-one sports video platform in the US. Wells has a long history in media, tech and sports. He is a former reporter and anchor in Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

“The Tourism Commission works with Tourism Victoria in seeking sporting events to help bring to Greater Victoria for the benefits of the economic spinoff,” said Kelsall. “Mr. Wells is an integral part of the bid process and is assisting with creating the physical bid book and helping the group to seek funds to support the event. Meanwhile, Deacon is managing the bid process and taking on much of the heavy lifting.”

The group has identified a venue and a spectacular course in Greater Victoria, which runs around the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club’s Valley Course. Kelsall, Deacon and Gary Duncan, a certified course measurer designed the route, which includes significant stretches of open-viewing, which will be impressive on television and for on-site spectators, and apparently, there are hills.

“In respect to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Association of Pan American Athletics’ desire for hillier racecourses, we have placed a significant hill that will give strength runners a fighting chance,” added Kelsall. The IAAF are seeking new venues and courses that are different than the rolling and flat ones that have been used for decades. They want hills. We have a 200—metre climb that ascends at least 30-metres starting at 1.8K.”

In addition to the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, the committee is targeting other regional and international cross-country events that may include the 2021 NACAC Cross Country Championships as well as the 2023 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

University of Victoria Vikes athlete Bridget Mateyko ascends the hill towards the finish of the 2K loop. Photo credit: Joseph Camilleri.

“We very much want Pan Ams, as well as our own provincial and national meets. The A-goal is to welcome the worlds in 2023. To date, there has been no course identified that is as beautiful, challenging or spectator-friendly in the world as Bear Mountain promises to be,” added Kelsall.

Apparently, VICCA will find out if they win the bid in February 2019.