Greater Victoria will host a premier international running event that could help the region land an even bigger prize: a world championship.
The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup is coming to the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort Spa on the West Shore in February 2020 after the Association of Panamerican Athletics, the regional confederation governing athletics in North, Central and South America, along with the Caribbean, approved Victoria’s bid.
2003 Pan Am Games marathon silver medalist Bruce Deacon helped design that course.
Christopher Kelsall, bid chair, said the competition will take place during the second or third weekend of February 2020, drawing several hundred international athletes, as well as a larger number of non-professional but competitive runners from various age groups.
The bid group operated under the name Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA), having partnered with interested stakeholders. Vancouver was the only other city bidding for the event.
Next year’s event will be the first time North America hosts the competition. As such, it will serve as a showcase for future competitions.
“Winning this was a big deal,” said Kelsall. “But it is the first step in going after the… 2023 International Association of Athletics Federations World Cross Country Championships.”
Should Victoria secure that championship, it could bring up to $10 million to the region.
Bob Reid of the Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) said bringing the Pan American Cross Country Cup to Bear Mountain next February will be a highlight, perhaps on par with hosting the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
“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,” he said.
Vargas, Venezuela held the 2016 edition of the race coming to Victoria and San Salvador, El Salvador hosted the 2018 edition.