VICCA announces 2021 Board of Directors

The Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) held its AGM on May 20 and elected its 2021 Board of Directors. The Society’s mandate is to organize and promote cross country events in Victoria from the regional level up to international competition. It successfully staged the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships at Bear Mountain Resort in Langford, BC.

The Board boasts a wealth of experience from representatives of running clubs and sports events to Victoria’s running alumni.  President of the Board is Ulla Hansen; Vice-President: Gary Duncan; Secretary: Julien Marceau and Treasurer: Paul Siluch. There are six Directors at Large: Bruce Deacon, Louise Hodgson-Jones, Christopher Kelsall, Mike Kennedy, Tom Michell, and Bob Reid.

Hansen is a 27-time Canadian National Championship Medalist and has represented Canada seven times at the World Cross Country Championships. She was part of the original bid committee for the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships.

“Our Board remains committed to the advancement of the sport of cross country both regionally and internationally,” said Hansen. “Having weathered this past difficult year, VICCA is excited about the latest PHO announcement, and we are planning to host cross country racing events later this year.”

The board’s athletic alumni also includes Deacon – two-time Olympian, Pan Am Games Silver Medalist and General Manager of the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships, and Michell – Provincial High School Track Champion, marathon runner and the 1996 Canadian Masters Track Champion in the 800m and 1500m.

 

Bathhurst Committee launches global running initiative

The local organising committee of the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021 has partnered with ASICS to launch a global running initiative designed to allow runners around the world to participate and interact with each other in the year leading to the main event.

Due to the global pandemic, the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, have been postponed until 19 February 2022, but the local organisers have launched a Global Challenge event that is open to all runners and will coincide with the original dates in 2021.

For more information go to World Athletics

Register here

 

Ottawa to host 2021 and 2022 Canadian XC Championships

Photo: Athletics Canada

Athletics Canada has announced that Ottawa will host the 2021 Cross Country Championships on Nov. 27, as well as the 2022 event. Abbotsford, B.C., will be the site for the 2023 Championships.

The event was previously scheduled to be held in Abbotsford in 2019 and 2020, before shifting to Ottawa for 2021 and 2022. The 2020 event in Abbotsford was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic last August.

Athletics Canada officials engaged in consultation with local organizing committees in both Ottawa and Abbotsford, as well as BC Athletics and Ottawa Tourism, in the process of allocating this important race weekend for the next three years. Upwards of 1,000 competitors descend on the host city every year to compete in the Canadian Cross Country Championships.

IOC reject XC for Paris 2024

Photo by Lois DeEll.

Cross Country will not feature in the 2024 Paris

Olympics as IOC announced this week. World Athletics had proposed a team’s replay event be included which had the endorsement of elite cross country runners.

In a statement World Athletics said: “Cross country is an exciting and fast growing sport around the world so we are clearly disappointed it will not feature at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, even more so given the heritage of cross country in France at the Paris 1924 Olympic Games. However, we have developed what we believe is a really exciting mixed relay product and have been encouraged by the commitment from the IOC that they will continue to work with us to realise our vision of seeing cross country in a future Olympic Games.”

Read more on Canadian Running 

BC XC Championships going Virtual

BC Athletics has announced a Virtual Cross Country Championships that will be held in place of an “In-Person” Championships. Unfortunately, due to increasing COVID-19 related restrictions, it  not possible to host an in-person event for the 2020 BC Cross Country Championships. The virtual championships will give an opportunity for athletes across the Province to compete against one another in a virtual format!

Highlights:

More details and registration information will be released shortly via the BC Athletics newsletter, social media, and website.

 

 

2020 BC XC Championships Postponed

Photo courtesy BC Athletics

BC Athletics has announced that the 2020 BC Cross Country Championships will now be held on November 28 on the Lower Mainland. The original date was October 24 with the event happening in Victoria. The Cross Country Committee said the move was to mitigate some travel requirements.

The Vancouver Thunderbirds have agreed to host and together with BC Athletics are working to secure a venue.

BC Athletics further said it is not a given that the event will go ahead yet, there are a huge number of hurdles to jump for permissions and safety protocols. Event modifications to fit with current mass gathering restrictions have not been decided as this time. More information will be posted as confirmed.

The Prairie Inn Harriers, will serve as a back up location for 2020 and the Championship will return to Vancouver Island for 2021.

Bathurst 2021 in doubt

The Local Organizing Committee for the World Athletics Cross County Championship has recommended the 2021 event, due to take place in March next year in Bathurst, New South Wales, be postponed.

Read more here

Cross Country proposed for 2024 Olympics

World Athletics is proposing cross country returns to the Summer Olympics in 2024, 100 years after it last appeared at the Games.

Check out the feature article in Athletics Weekly.

 

VICCA announces Board of Directors

The Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) held its first AGM on May 21 and elected its 2020 Board of Directors. Coming off a successful staging of the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships at Bear Mountain Resort in Langford, BC in February, the Society’s mandate is to organize and promote cross country events in Victoria from the regional level up to international competition.

The Board boasts a wealth of experience from representatives of running clubs and sports events to the best of Victoria’s running alumni.  President of the Board is Ulla Hansen; Vice-President: Gary Duncan; Secretary: Julien Marceau and Treasurer: Paul Siluch. There are eight Directors at Large: Lori Chestnut, Bruce Deacon, Jonathan Foweraker, Louise Hodgson-Jones, Mike Kennedy, Tom Michell, Bob Reid and Keith Wells.

Hansen is a 27-time Canadian National Championship Medalist and has represented Canada seven times at the World Cross Country Championships. She was part of the original bid committee for the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships and in March 2019 when the Society was formed, she was elected President of VICCA.

“It is a privilege to work with the Board of Directors who bring such incredible energy, wide ranging expertise and heartfelt community spirit to our Association,” said Hansen. “We are excited to build on the success of the Pan Am Cup bringing high quality cross country events to our region.”

The board’s athletic alumni also includes Chestnut, nee Bowden, who is Canada’s most successful Ironman Champion, winning the world title five times; Deacon – two-time Olympian, Pan Am Games Silver Medalist and General Manager of the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships, and Michell – Provincial High School Track Champion, marathon runner and the 1996 Canadian Masters Track Champion in the 800m and 1500m.

With running competition on hold because of COVID-19, there are no immediate competitions on the horizon for VICCA, but a long term goal is to bid on the 2023 or 2025 World Athletics Cross Country Championship.

Exciting action in the 2020 Pan Am XC Cup

A photo finish in the men’s senior race. Image by Yen Lyesin.

Cool but sunny temperatures greeted the Pan Am athletes at Bear Mountain Resort Langford today for the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup. It was a full day of racing with a community race, youth races and the Can Am Masters Challenge.

The U20 women was the first of the Pan Am races with 30 runners from Canada, USA, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Panama and Colombia. The 6km course was won by Brooke Rauber from the USA in 23:12, Canada’s top junior Sadie Sigfstead was second in 23:23 and third was Peru’s Jhenifer Melchor in 23:46.

The U20 men’s field had 32 runners running 8k (4 x two km laps). From the start it was a tight lead pack with Corey Georges and Evan Bishop from the USA and Alejandro Alania from Peru jostling for the lead. During the second lap the lead kept changing with Mexico’s Cesar Daniel Gomez Ponce taking second place. In the final lap Georges pulled away to win in 27:15, Bishop was second (27:20) and Alania third in 27:27.

Georges ran a tactical race. “I tried to play it smart as I knew there were four laps, so I held back and made a move in the last two kilometres,” he said. “It is an amazing experience running here and an honour to run for my country.”

The senior women’s race was dominated by two-time Canadian Cross Country champion Geneviève Lalonde. She took the lead from the start with teammate Natasha Wodak close behind her with Peruvian Lizaida Thalia Valdivia and USA’s Carrie Verdon also in the pack. Lalonde extended her lead and with two kilometres to go it was clear she would win easily. She hit the tape in 37:37. Verdon was second in 38:09 and Valdivia was third in 38:12. Wodak came fourth in 38:24.

Lalonde (left) lead the senior women on the course. Photo by Yen Lyesin.

Lalonde, who now lives in Victoria, was bubbling with delight at her victory. “I wasn’t planning on taking the lead so early but kept it smooth and the gap kept growing,” she said. “There were such great crowds today particularly on the hills and they raised the momentum.” She found the course hard: “It was particularly challenging on the back end with the twists and turns but it wasn’t as hard as the Worlds last year in Aarhus, but it was tough for sure.”

The men’s race proved to be a nail biter with Team USA and Brazil battling it out for a podium. Anthony Rotich from the USA took the lead and in the second lap Daniel Ferreira DoNascim made a challenge. It was a tactical move with teammate Johnatas De Oliveira Cruz also moving ahead. By the fourth lap Americans Dillon Maggard and David Goodman were in contention. On the last lap Rotich and De Oliveira Cruz were neck and neck and on the home straight had a photo finish, both recording 32:50 but the Brazilian was announced the winner by a fraction of a second. Paul Ramirez from Peru was third in 33:11. Top Canadian was Connor Black finishing fifth in 33:25. De Oliveira Cruz explained afterwards it was all teamwork. “We ran as a team until the third lap and I had to decide do I stay with Daniel or pull away. So I decided to push harder.” The team prior to the race studied the course and ran on similar terrain at home to simulate the course. The 29-year-old ran the World Cross Country Championships at Aarhus, Denmark last year. “That was a tipping point for me – I decided to train hard for this event,” he said.

The day also saw exciting action in the other races. Canada took on the USA in the Can Am Challenge where the Canadians had a 18-14 lead and was undefeated on Canadian soil. Canada didn’t disappoint with a sweep in both the men’s and women’s races. Graham Cocksedge from the University of Victoria Track Club had a commanding lead in the 5K with Mark Cryderman from Campbell River, Vancouver Island, closing in over the last lap. Cocksedge was able to keep the lead to finish in 18:24 with Cryderman a few seconds behind in 18:32. Third was Brian Torrance in 18:42.

Jen Millar led from the start of the women’s race. The road race runner from Victoria is transitioning to trail and enjoyed the course. “Such a beautiful course with the tough up hills and fast downhills – you couldn’t catch your breath.” Millar hit the tape in 20:34 with Lauren King second in 21:29 Andrea Smith third in 21:47.

The Pacific Northwest Youth Cup featured the best high school runners in the region. The boy’s race was won by Victoria’s Jonah Brost in 18:13 with Joseph Curtis from Coquitlam, second in 18:17 and third was Jaiveer Tiwana from Surrey in 18:30. Ella Madsen from Coquitlam won the girls race in 19:23, second was Christina Peet Williams (Team Dogwood) in 19:48 and third was Ella Ballard (Victoria) in 19:56. The boy’s division was won by Victoria and the girl’s by Vancouver with Surrey winning the overall championship.

The day kicked off with the Community Race over 5K. Over 40 runners from BC clubs lined up to test the course ahead of the main races. Ian Searle from the Prairie Inn Harriers led the pack until Jonathan Behnke passed him with one kilometre to go to take the tape in 18:06. Searle came second in 18:29 and Matthew Galea from U of C Athletics Club was third in 19:14.

Behnke, from the Vancouver Falcons, recently won the Cedar 12K and is gearing up over the next few months for the cross country season in the fall. Asked about his prep for the race he said he did look at the map and ran some of it the day before. “I had no idea of the field, so I started fast and waited to see who came with me.”

The women’s race was won by Vancouver’s Ally Ginther in 20:51, second was Sarah Brian (Prairie Inn Harriers) in 23:59 and third was Stephanie Croft in 27:04.

The VIRA Cup for the top team was won by the Prairie Inn Harriers.

The Nations Cup saw over 175 kids from 22 schools run a 1.6km loop. Students from grades K – 2, 3 – 5 and 6 – 8 started in waves with each school having been designated a Pan Am country running in the country’s team colours.

“After almost a year and a half of planning and preparing, the races came together perfectly,” says Bruce Deacon, the event General Manager. “We again showed the world that the Victoria running community is second to none in putting on world class events.”

In the Pan Am team results Canada won the U20 Female and Senior Female categories. The USA won the U20 Male and Senior Male. Overall the USA was first with Canada second and Peru third.

The Pan Am Cup is in conjunction with the NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association) Cross Country Championships. The inaugural event was in 2005 and held in Florida. In 2015 the Pan Am Cross Country Cup was added to the event. In the NACAC Championships on Saturday Canada won the U20 Female and Senior Female titles and USA the U20 Male and Senior Male titles.

Full Results here