(UVic Vikes athlete Bridget Mateyko at Bear Mountain / Athletics Illustrated website)

Runners rejoice!

After bidding to host the 2020 Pan American Cross Country Cup last year, Victoria has been selected to host the upcoming international competition.

Established in 2015, the Pan Am Cross Country Cup is a running competition that includes athletes from both North and South America. Racers are divided into senior, junior (under 20 years old), and youth (under 18 years old) categories.

The 2020 cup will be the first time that athletes come to North America to race, with 2016’s inaugural cup being held in Venezuela and 2018’s competition taking place in El Salvador.

“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, a Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) committee member in a release.

“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.”

A five star course

The event is set to take place on Bear Mountain, where lengthy running routes are being designed on parts of the mountain resort’s Valley Golf Course.

The Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa will also serve as the host hotel in partnership with Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway for incoming athletes from across the Americas.

“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,” said Cathy Noel, race manager of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

“This is going to be a running festival that everyone will be able to participate in.”

Local cup organizers hope that the cross country competition will inspire and encourage young runners on the 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 and coach of the Prairie Inn Harriers Youth Team in a release.

Organizers are also hoping that the success of the Pan Am Cross Country Cup will help bring 2023’s World Cross Country Championships to the island.

The Pan American Cross Country Cup is set to take place in the second or third weekend of February, 2020.