On February 29, Victoria, B.C. is hosting the Pan Am Cross-Country Cup which will see four Canadian teams competing alongside visitors from 10 other countries. The Pan Am committee has announced that Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela are all ready to race.
The teams will be sending both junior and senior squads. The senior men and women will both run 10K and the juniors will compete over 8K for the men and 6K for women.
This is the first time that Greater Victoria has hosted such an international field of cross-country runners,” says Bruce Deacon, the event’s General Manager. “In the past, this event has been contested on flat courses and the Bear Mountain course will definitely test the athletes who are used to racing on flat grassy fields. This is a tough course.”
The Canadians are fielding a strong senior women’s team which includes World Championship finalist Gen Lalonde, Pan Am 10,000m gold medalist Natasha Wodak and 2016 Olympian Maria Galea-Bernard. Both Lalonde and Wodak now live in B.C. which makes the meet even more exciting.
Deciding to run cross-country in fall 2019 wasn’t a given for Wodak. She was coming off the year of her life, but that year had included travel from Denmark to Doha for two World Championships, along with countless trips between Canada and the U.S. to race. “Nationals and Pan Am are so close to home that I had to run,” she says. “There were so many friends and family who came out to watch [nationals]. My friends’ kids are all kind of between the ages of seven and 10 now, so it’s cool for them to see Auntie Tasha running, especially at a time when they’re getting into sports.”
The senior men’s field is similarly strong and will include 2019 World Championship qualifier John Gay, Laval University standout Jean-Simon Desgagnes and 2018 U Sports cross-country champion Connor Black.
9:00 a.m. PT – 5K Community Race
10:00 a.m. PT – 6K Junior Women Pan Am Cup
10:40 a.m. PT – 8K Junior Men Pan Am Cup
11:20 a.m. PT – 1.6K Nations Cup (kids)
11:45 a.m. PT – 10K Senior Women Pan Am Cup
1:00 p.m. PT – 10K Senior Men Pan Am Cup
1:40 p.m. PT – 5K Youth Cup
2:15 p.m. PT – 5K Can Am Race 1
2:50 p.m. PT – 5K Can Am Race 2