Pan Am Races Make for a Festival of Running

Pan Am Doug Smith

Registration for all races at the Pan Am Cross Country Championships are now open and there is a race for everyone. The day long running festival includes a Community Race, a kids race (Nations Cup), the Pacific Northwest Youth race, the Can Am Masters challenge and the Pan Am Cup races. The Pan Ams will be held in Langford, BC at the Bear Mountain Resort on February 29, 2020.

Participants in the community race will have a chance to run a 5K course which comprises of three loops (2k, 1k, 2k) and have all the features of a cross country course including hills, mud and a sand pit! There will be age divisions in 5-year categories, chip timing, and a participant toque. Clubs and teams also have the chance to compete and win the VIRA Cross Country Cup, presented by the Vancouver Island Runners Association.

Pan Am Masters Race

“This is the first time the Pan Am Cross Country Cup has been hosted in Canada,” says Bruce Deacon, the event General Manager. “This is a chance for local runners to race over the same course as the elite international athletes and to experience the excitement of racing cross country.”

The race for students in grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 – the Nations Cup – has a schools challenge where schools will be designated a country and run in t-shirts with the country’s team colours. A special draw will be made on January 31st to designate the country for each school. “This is a great fitness goal to inspire students to keep running through the wet winter months and to feel part of the action on the big race day,” said Deacon.

For older students – grades 9 – 12 – there is the Pacific Northwest Youth Cup where teams of five boys and five girls can score points to determine the fastest city team.

Canada and USA rivalry in cross country running will be seen up close at the Can Am Masters Challenge.  Canada leads the challenge series over the USA 18 – 14 and is undefeated on Canadian soil. Individuals and clubs are invited to compete in the 5km race, which is open to runners over 30. With five year age categories the competition is expecting to be exciting and intense.

“What makes this event so special is that it gives all masters a chance to represent Canada,” explains event General Manager, Bruce Deacon. “Anyone over 30 can run the race and count in the scoring against the US. For the average runner there are few opportunities to race for your country.”

Pan Am Grace and Justin

The Can Am Masters Cross Country Challenge was established in 1977 by Canadian Don Farquharson. “This dual meet was held every year from 1977 to 2007, except in 2000 – the year Don Farquharson passed away,” added Deacon, himself a two-time Olympian.

The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup will attract teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean and is a competition between national teams contested in men’s and women’s senior and junior races. This will be the most prestigious international cross country running event that BC has ever hosted. Spectators are welcome to come and cheer on the participants as they test themselves over the challenging Bear Mountain course.

For more information on all of the races go to:

Pan Am XC Cup