Runners are preparing for the upcoming 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, held for the first time on Langford’s Bear Mountain in February. (Photo by Pan Am Cross Country Cup)

Runners are preparing for the upcoming 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, held for the first time on Langford’s Bear Mountain in February. (Photo by Pan Am Cross Country Cup)

Cross country runners prepare for world class Pan Am Cup on West Shore

Victoria master runner trains for international event on Bear Mountain

One of Canada’s top master runners is preparing for a world class run, right here on Island soil.

Victoria runner Craig Odermatt is running in the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, a race event by the Association of Pan-American Athletics championships. Held every second year, the cross-country event attracts teams from Pan American countries to compete in men’s and women’s senior and junior races. In 2018 the Pan Am Cup was held in El Salvador, and a successful bid by the Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) is bringing the competition to Vancouver Island – and Canada – for the first time, with Bear Mountain playing host to eight races this February.

READ ALSO: West Shore lands Pan Am Cross Country Cup

Along with four standard Pan Am Cup races, the 2020 event will include a a Pacific Northwest Youth Cup (for high school-aged runners), a kids’ race, an open mass participation recreation race and a five-kilometre North American Masters Cup – the race Odermatt is training for.

He expects to race alongside former Olympians and members of national teams.

“The distance isn’t as much a challenge as the speed,” he says. “For cross country it helps to do some specific training.”

Odermatt has been running almost his whole life and has picked up a string of medals along the way – one of the most recent was a gold medal win for a 15-kilometre race in Maui. Odermatt was a masters medalist for nine years in a row at the BC Cross Country Championships and took home gold in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He ran for Team BC in the Canadian Cross Country Championships for ten years and in 2015, won the Canadian Cross Country title and the overall open title for the Island Road Race Series. He was also the Masters Island Series champion in 2016.

Victoria master runner Craig Odermatt has numerous running titles under his belt, including the 2015 Canadian Cross Country Champion. But now the runner is preparing for the masters race at the upcoming Pan Am Cross Country Cup, held in Vancouver Island – and Canada – for the first time ever this February. (Photo Courtesy of Craig Odermatt)

But in the last month or so Odermatt has been preparing for a new challenge. He’s begun incorporating grass running and hills into his training as the 2020 Pan Am Cup draws closer.

The master runner is looking forward to participating in a world-class event right in his own backyard. In fact, Odermatt says in high school he often trained near Bear Mountain and around Langford.

“It’s fun for sure, this is one of the routes I got going on in high school,” he says. “To be in your own area, have your family come out not have to worry about time issues is great.”

READ ALSO: Victoria to bid for World Cross-Country Championships

Odermatt is excited about the community, kids and youth races added to the event – something he hopes will help more people get interested, involved or feel included in the cross country running world.

“They’re making it more of a community event, trying to give an outlet for multiple people to be part of it,” he says.

The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup comes to Bear Mountain on Feb. 29. In a statement, VICCA committee member Bob Reid says an “experienced and conscientious organizing team” is working to ensure the event will be successful and supported by running groups across the 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.”

For more information on the Pan Am Cross Country Championship, visit panamxcup2020.com.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Investigation into Victoria death in early stages

Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)
A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Victoria police are searching for a federal offender who is wanted Canada-wide after his statutory release was suspended. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for federal offender wanted Canada-wide

Warrant issued after offender’s statutory release suspended

Protestors against old growth logging gather in front of the courthouse in Victoria on Thursday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fairy Creek protesters gather at Victoria courthouse

Logging company seeks injunction to remove blockades near its Port Renfrew operation

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Construction takes place on Bamfield Main in early February 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS)
Ongoing Bamfield roadwork unrelated to planned $30M fix

Construction by Mosaic unrelated to $30M upgrade ordered in wake of fatal bus crash

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Island communities asked to join forces in seeking help fighting illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Most Read