2021 BC Cross Country Championships

Men’s race start. Photo by Joseph Camilleri

Article courtesy Athletics Illustrated

The 2021 British Columbia Cross Country Championships took place Saturday at Beaver Lake Park in Victoria. Five hundred and 15 athletes aged nine to 72 took in the meet hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers running club.

The men’s senior race was won by the newly married UBC Alumni, John Gay, who went to the front early and continued to build on the lead. He opened up a big gap on the field after the second of four laps. The chasers included Thomas Nobbs, Cameron Proceviat, and Tyler Dozzi. Proceviat sat in fourth position most of the race until he passed Dozzi over the final 200m.

Dozzi, however, looked stronger than he had a few weeks earlier at the University of Victoria Vikes invitational, where Nobbs surged ahead early and kept the lead throughout the race.

Gay was representing the Vancouver Thunderbirds Club, while Nobbs and Dozzi are current UBC Thunderbirds teammates. Proceviat is with Simon Fraser University.

Gay’s finish time over the windy, rolling course was 23:26, 11 seconds ahead of Nobbs. Nobbs and Proveviat clocked finish times of 23:37 and 23:39, respectively. The Vancouver Thunderbirds placed five finishers in the top-31, while the UBC Thunderbirds placed five in the top 14.

I’m really pleased with how today went. Getting back into a race environment, especially cross country after nearly two years away, was a welcome breakup of the training block I’ve been in,” shared Gay. “Coach CJ (Chris Johnson) and I wanted to test the fitness today by making it an honest pace from the gun, which is likely what I’ll face in Ottawa. I’d say mission accomplished and I’m excited to be setting my sights on ACXC in five weeks’ time!”

John Gay hitting the tape. Photo by Joseph Camilleri

Gay and other top finishers in each age category will represent BC at the national cross country championships taking place in Ottawa on November 27 at Wesley Clover Parks.

Like the men’s race, the women’s race didn’t offer much drama up front, just a commanding display of fitness by the leaders, the excitement was in the chase packs and athletes exchanging leads and jostling for position.

Sarah Inglis was expected to compete for the win with Canadian 3000m steeplechase record holder and two-time Olympian Genevieve Lalonde. Inglis has had a great three weeks of racing while Lalonde has been busy training and won’t be backing off the mileage until the week of the nationals. Lalonde finished second.

Inglis, known for going out hard from the gun, didn’t make a move until at least halfway into the race. She sat in a pack that had a varying parade of leaders for the first two laps. Lisa Brooking had the early lead and looked strong throughout.

“I am really happy with the race,” shared Inglis. “I sat in with girls and then pushed the last lap.”

Sarah Inglis wins the women’s race. Photo by Joseph Camilleri

Rebecca Bassett back from three years of injury, niggles and the pandemic is excited to be back racing and she competed well. While Inglis improved her own Royal Victoria 8K course record two weeks prior clocking a 25:35 finish time and then a 31:59 in Toronto the following week in the 10K, won again Saturday.

Bassett finished sixth, within a minute of Inglis. It was another strong comeback performance for the Nanaimo native.

“I am just so grateful to be back to regular running and getting a chance to race again,” said Bassett. “Most of us work full time now, so it is a great distraction to get out and train. So, I am now enjoying running and racing, but not taking it so seriously.”

She is now in the lower mainland training with the Langley Mustangs Endurance Group under coach Mark Bomba and with Inglis and several other competitors who were also in the race.

Inglis is teaching full-time and coaching students. Once her race was over, she was busy managing the team. It’s a hectic life but someone has to live it.

Alycia Butterworth finished third, the three top finishers clocked times of 27:13, 27:31, and 27:58, respectively. Brooking hung on and took fourth in the time of 28:00.

Angelina Shandro won the U20 women’s race. She moved to middle distances after trying her hand at sprinting. It was a surprise win for the University of Toronto student who was formerly and again being coached by Bruce Deacon.

“I really like running longer. I also enjoy cross country and trail running. Building the aerobic base and then using the sprint ability I think helped, as the plan was to sit and kick, which I did.”

Abby Yliplakhala finished in second place while Sandra Cockburn took third. The three went 21:42, 22:58, and 23:17, respectively over the three-lap, 6K course.

In the men’s U18 5K race Caiden Lee with Ocean Athletics and Tion McLeish with Victoria Speed Project ran the first 3K of the 5K race exchanging leads, then Lee dropped the pace and gapped McLeish. Yemane Mulugeta also with Ocean caught McLeish who faded late, taking third.

Lee clocked a 15:16 finish time, while Mulugeta and McLeish finished in 15:35 and 15:43, respectively.

In the men’s U20 race, which was mixed with the senior’s race, surprise BC champion Dylan Uhrich with the UBC Thunderbirds was quite pleased with the title. He will also be donning the BC singlet for the team portion of the National Cross Country Championships.

Meanwhile, Ruby Broadbent of the Victoria Speed Project — a training group led by Dacre Bowen — was turning heads. New to distance running the soccer player went straight to the lead kept and built it throughout the race. Jaune Klaus and Christina Peet Williams duked it out for most of the 4K race before a gap emerged during the final 700 metres. Klaus took second in the time of 13:40, while Peet Williams finished four seconds back. Broadbent, looking relaxed clocked a finish time of 13:05.

Broadbent is in new territory and is enjoying the discovery of her natural talent. Meanwhile, Peet Williams like most high school athletes at this level is considering which university to attend.

“We are getting a lot of calls from within Canada and the US, and it is a difficult decision,” shared Peet Williams. She plans to study Environmental Sciences. Lucky for the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, they are potential frontrunners.

With Olympians Malindi Elmore in Kelowna and Hilary Stellingwerff in Victoria, she can’t go wrong.

Post race interviews 

Cross Country returns to UVic

Lauren McNeil wins the women’s race. Photo courtesy Athletics Illustrated.

It was perfect conditions on Saturday for the return of cross country running at the University of Victoria for the Vikes open championship. Lauren McNeil from UBCO Heat won the women’s race and Thomas Nobbs won the men’s race for the UBC Thunderbirds.

Read about the race here.


UVic Vikes hosting Cross Country Open

UVic Vikes are hosting a Cross Country Open on Saturday, September 25 at Cedar Hill Corner, Cedar Hill Cross Rd. Open to individuals and families there will be a 6km men’s and women’s race and a 2km kids/family race.  The course is a 2km loop on grass and gravel/dirt trails. There will be an athletic trainer from the University of Victoria at the meet with water and ice available near the start/finish line.

Awards will be given for top 3 individuals for Junior, University and Masters, and top team, in each 6km race. Medals for Kids/Family 2km provided by VICCA.

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 family of 4).

Meet Entries Due: Please submit entries no later than 5 p.m. Sunday, September 19th, 2021

For more information contact Hilary Stellingwerff, vikesxctrack@uvic.ca, 250-686-7114.

To Register



2021 BC XC Championships Announced

BC Athletics has announced that the 2021 BC Cross Country Championships will be held in person on Saturday, October 23 at Beaver Lake in Victoria.  The event is hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers and BC Athletics.

Tentative Schedule

Race Time Category Distance
#1 11:15 am 2010 Boys & Girls (age 9) 1.5 km
#2 11:30 am 2009 Boys & Girls (age 10) 2.0 km
#3 11:45 pm 2008 Boys & Girls (age 11) 2.0km
#4 12:00 pm Senior & Masters Women
U20* & 70+ Women
8.0 km
6.0 km
#5 12:55 pm U20*, Senior & Masters Men
70+ Men
8.0 km
6.0 km
1:00 pm Age 9, 10, 11 Awards
#6 1:55 pm 2007 & 2006 Boys & Girls (age 12 & 13) 3.0 km
#7 2:20 pm U16 Girls (age 14 & 15) 3.0 km
#8 2:40 pm U16 Boys (age 14 & 15) 3.0 km
2:45 pm U20, Senior, Masters Awards
#9 3:00 pm U18 Girls 4.0 km
#10 3:15 pm U18 Boys 5.0 km
3:45 pm Age 12, 13, U16 & U18 Awards


* U18 may run up in the U20 event to qualify for the BC Team — must indicate race # when entering.

To register go to: http://www.trackiereg.com/BCXC2021 

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!


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.