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The Victoria-based group Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) – learned Wednesday that their bid proposal was successful for the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup.

The Association of Panamerican Athletics and Athletics Canada informed VICCA of the news via email, “It is my pleasure and honour to inform you that the Association of Panamerican Athletics has selected Victoria as the 2020 site of the Pan Am Cross Country Cup,” wrote Victor Lopez, president of the APA.

“This is a wonderful day for Victoria as we have taken our critical first step towards bringing the 2023 World Cross Country Championships to Vancouver 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.

The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup will take place during the second or third weekend (TBD) of February at Bear Mountain on a course that will take in parts of the Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole Valley Course.

“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 VICCA committee member. “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. 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.”

The 2016 Cup was held in Vargas, Venezuela and the 2018 Cup was held in San Salvador, El Salvador. The five-star Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa will serve as host hotel in partnership with the four-star Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway.

“The bid would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire committee as well as the assistance by Jonathan McMillan at ‘94 Forward, Keith Wells CEO of the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission as well as support from the Tourism Event Program from Destination BC, VIA Sport and the City of Langford,” said bid chair Christopher Kelsall. “Additionally, we would like to thank BC Athletics, Athletics Canada and of course the Association of Panamerican Athletics and their council. The support of the Westin Bear Mountain Resort & Spa, Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club and Ecoasis is also greatly appreciated.”

“This event has never been held in North America, but in February of next year, runners from across the Americas will ‘Run Wild’ in Canada—at Bear Mountain. This is a great honour for our region and will help us immensely with our next goal of attracting the 2023 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.’

“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. This is going to be a running festival that everyone will be able to participate in,” said Cathy Noel, race manager of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

The event hashtag is: #RunWild

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1101584686688581/

Course video, located at: https://athleticsillustrated.com/video/pan-am-cross-country-cup-bid-video-natasha-wodaks-course-preview/