© Copyright – 2021 – Athletics Illustrated

On Saturday, September 25, the University of Victoria Vikes team is hosting the first cross-country meet on school lands since the 1990s, to kick off the 2021 season.

In addition to the University of Victoria, Trinity Western University (TWU) of Langley, BC (Vancouver), the University of BC (UBC) in Vancouver, and UBC — Okanagan (UBCO) in Kelowna are invited. The four schools all compete in the USport league, Western Conference.

Vikes Head Coach and race organiser, Hilary Stellingwerff, said that they are putting on the race for a few reasons.

“We want to provide a competitive opportunity for our Vikes teams to race against some of the other BC universities at home and, for the first time in decades, have a meet on our UVic campus. We have been working closely with UVic to develop Cedar Hill Corner as a course which has been an awesome opportunity for us to have a training and racing site for our athletes and youth programs with the goal of promoting the sport of cross country in our community. Further to that, this race is to provide a running opportunity to the community via the kids’ races and the open races which we hope to have local high school athletes, club and masters athletes come to line up with the university athletes — obviously within the COVID regulations by then. We will also have youth cross-country programs going throughout the fall on Thursdays.”

The Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA), the group that bid on and organised the 2020 Pan AM Cross Country Cup is also in the business of fostering interest in the discipline of cross-country running in the island city. VICCA has stepped in to help as a sponsor and providing volunteers, as has RunSport, the organisers of the TC10K and the Victoria Track Classic.

“The four universities are committed to bringing their men’s and women’s teams to compete in the open 6km races,” added Stellingwerff. “We’ll have prizes in junior, senior, university, and masters categories.”

Photo Credit: Christopher Kelsall

Stellingwerff competed for Canada in the 1500m distance on the track and is a 2012 London Olympian. Originally from Sarnia, Ontario, she and her husband Trent settled in Victoria, with his role at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific as an exercise physiologist. In 2020, she took over the role of head coach for the retiring, Brent Fougner, after several years serving as an assistant coach.

The mother of two has added family and a kid’s race, “We are offering the 2km Kids and Family Race that will focus on introducing our next generation of athletes to the sport of cross country as well as provide a fun experience for the whole family.”

Register here>>

Race Start Time:

11:00 AM – Kids/Family 2km

11:45 AM – Women’s 6K

12:30 PM – Men’s 6K

Awards will be given to the top-3 individuals for Junior, Senior, University and Masters, and top team, in each 6km race. Medals for Kids/Family 2km provided by Victoria International Cross Country Association.

Race Course Description: 2km loop on grass and gravel/dirt trails.  Spikes or flats are fine.  Course map to follow.

Entry Fee: $100 per team ($200 for combined men’s and women’s teams); $20 per individual / unattached runner. $10 per individual for 2km ($30 for a family of 4).

Meet Entries Due: Please submit entries no later than 5:00 PM Sunday, September 19th, 2021 at: https://www.trackiereg.com/vikesxcopen2021

Athletic Trainers: There will be an athletic trainer from the University of Victoria at the meet with water and ice available near the start/finish line.

Hotels:  Carlton Plaza Hotel 642 Johnson St., Victoria BC, V8W1M6 (250) 388-5513

Howard Johnson 4670 Elk Lake Drive 250-704-4656 

Meet Director: Contact Hilary Stellingwerff, vikesxctrack@uvic.ca, 250-686-7114.