Calgary Dinos athlete Alex James leads the men’s pack at Beacon Hill during the U Sports 2017 national cross country championships. (Jim Finlayson photo)

Victoria to bid for World Cross-Country Championships

IAAF 2023 worlds could bring upwards of $10 million to region

A local group passionate about running is creating a bid for Greater Victoria to host the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup and the 2023 World Cross Country running championships.

The Westin Bear Mountain Resort would host the race on a cross-country course that 2003 Pan Am Games marathon silver medalist Bruce Deacon helped design.

“There’s a lot to like,” said Deacon, who is part of the bid team. “The cross-country worlds are the most competitive distance running event in the world because you bring people from various disciplines together.”

Economically, the event is a windfall, he added.

Hosting the Pan Ams would also showcase their bid for the worlds.

“The last estimated economic impact for the worlds, in Uganda, was close to $10 million,” Deacon said. “That’s a great thing for the region, it really brings in a ton of people.”

It also brings people in at a marquee time, February, when the tourist season is down.

The bid group is forming a society called the Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA), to partner with the interested stakeholders in town. Their Pan Am bid is due by the end of December against just one other city, Vancouver, Deacon said.

“Bear Mountain has a fantastic course,” Deacon said. “We’ve been over it with the Bear Mountain golf director, and we feel it’s a world class course, better than what Vancouver has to offer. Plus we have the on-site advantage of hosting the athletes at Bear Mountain.”

The Pan Ams will draw 21 countries from North, Central and South America while the World Championships would draw 750 athletes including elites, juniors and seniors.

The proposed course is a two-kilometre loop that runs around the outside of two holes and is a very difficult course, Deacon said. Cross-country races can have a loop of 1,500 to 2,000 metres. Junior women do six km, junior men do eight km, senior women eight km and senior men 10 km, all on grass and scrub.

Victoria has a history with cross-country. The University of Victoria boasts one of the best cross-country teams every year and hosted the U Sports national championship at Beacon Hill Park last year. In the 1980s, the national team held team trials to decide the final members at Beacon Hill Park.

The worlds haven’t been in North America since 1992 when they were hosted in Boston.

“We want to help return cross-country to its former glory as the crown jewel in athletics. The venue we have identified, with its five-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.

“The motivator is, this is a huge legacy for young kids to watch the very best athletes in the world race right in front of you,” said Deacon. “It will breath life into the sport and create a legacy for the city.”

reporter@saanichnews.com


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

Coroner called to workplace death in Victoria

VicPD says traffic impacts expected in 800-block Government Street and adjacent roads

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

Saanich explores options for adding shelters to parks

Covered areas would encourage safe outdoor socializing during rainy season

VicPD seeking help in recovering stolen scooter of B.C. Special Olympics athlete

The scooter was stolen from outside Hillside Mall on Sept.21

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Most Read