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)

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

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
UPDATED: Driver stopped for road rage incident on Pat Bay Highway fails breathalyzer test: police

Several witnesses reported driver to police, school officer intercepted

Police escorts for Victoria bylaw workers entering encampments in parks will continue for this month, after council approved a $25,000 budget request from VicPD. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bylaw staff encampment work to include police escort through April

Taxpayers to see modest increase in property taxes for 2021

Traffic is backed up due to a crash on Highway 1. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)
Traffic backs up on Highway 1 westbound in View Royal after crash

First responders are reportedly on the scene in View Royal

This property, at 1980 Fairfield Place, is adjoined to Gonzales Hill Park and is the centre of community opposition and a B.C. Supreme Court case as owners are looking to build a single-family home on the lot. Jake Romphf/News Staff
Home construction near Victoria’s Gonzales Hill Park spurs legal battle

Gonzales Hill Preservation Society worried about impacts to the park’s wildlife, rare fauna, views

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

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 April 13

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

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

The District of Sooke will continue to flower with Communities in Bloom. (Pixabay)
Sooke will bud but not bloom in provincial competition

Council scales back participation in Communities in Bloom

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read