Runners are preparing for the upcoming 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, held for the first time on Langford’s Bear Mountain in February. (Photo by Pan Am Cross Country Cup)

Runners are preparing for the upcoming 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, held for the first time on Langford’s Bear Mountain in February. (Photo by Pan Am Cross Country Cup)

Cross country runners prepare for world class Pan Am Cup on West Shore

Victoria master runner trains for international event on Bear Mountain

One of Canada’s top master runners is preparing for a world class run, right here on Island soil.

Victoria runner Craig Odermatt is running in the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup, a race event by the Association of Pan-American Athletics championships. Held every second year, the cross-country event attracts teams from Pan American countries to compete in men’s and women’s senior and junior races. In 2018 the Pan Am Cup was held in El Salvador, and a successful bid by the Victoria International Cross Country Association (VICCA) is bringing the competition to Vancouver Island – and Canada – for the first time, with Bear Mountain playing host to eight races this February.

READ ALSO: West Shore lands Pan Am Cross Country Cup

Along with four standard Pan Am Cup races, the 2020 event will include a a Pacific Northwest Youth Cup (for high school-aged runners), a kids’ race, an open mass participation recreation race and a five-kilometre North American Masters Cup – the race Odermatt is training for.

He expects to race alongside former Olympians and members of national teams.

“The distance isn’t as much a challenge as the speed,” he says. “For cross country it helps to do some specific training.”

Odermatt has been running almost his whole life and has picked up a string of medals along the way – one of the most recent was a gold medal win for a 15-kilometre race in Maui. Odermatt was a masters medalist for nine years in a row at the BC Cross Country Championships and took home gold in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He ran for Team BC in the Canadian Cross Country Championships for ten years and in 2015, won the Canadian Cross Country title and the overall open title for the Island Road Race Series. He was also the Masters Island Series champion in 2016.

Victoria master runner Craig Odermatt has numerous running titles under his belt, including the 2015 Canadian Cross Country Champion. But now the runner is preparing for the masters race at the upcoming Pan Am Cross Country Cup, held in Vancouver Island – and Canada – for the first time ever this February. (Photo Courtesy of Craig Odermatt)

But in the last month or so Odermatt has been preparing for a new challenge. He’s begun incorporating grass running and hills into his training as the 2020 Pan Am Cup draws closer.

The master runner is looking forward to participating in a world-class event right in his own backyard. In fact, Odermatt says in high school he often trained near Bear Mountain and around Langford.

“It’s fun for sure, this is one of the routes I got going on in high school,” he says. “To be in your own area, have your family come out not have to worry about time issues is great.”

READ ALSO: Victoria to bid for World Cross-Country Championships

Odermatt is excited about the community, kids and youth races added to the event – something he hopes will help more people get interested, involved or feel included in the cross country running world.

“They’re making it more of a community event, trying to give an outlet for multiple people to be part of it,” he says.

The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup comes to Bear Mountain on Feb. 29. In a statement, VICCA committee member Bob Reid says an “experienced and conscientious organizing team” is working to ensure the event will be successful and supported by running groups across the Island.

“It is the first step in showcasing Victoria’s ability to stage a first-class cross country event to the world in hopes of applying for the World Cross Country Championships in 2023.”

For more information on the Pan Am Cross Country Championship, visit panamxcup2020.com.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Port Renfrew Fire Chief Dan Kuzman, left, and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks, separated by two fishing rods for safe pandemic physical distancing, display the village’s new snowplowing unit. (Contributed)
Port Renfrew gets new snowplow

With equipment, CRD crew can clear roads following snowfall

Sooke’s Amy McLaughlin holds Theodore, a bunny who will be going to a new owner in Nanaimo within the coming days if all goes will at an upcoming bunny play-date. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Sooke woman looking to hop into bigger space for bunny business

Amy McLaughlin has rescued over 400 bunnies across the Island, mainland

The fine for changing lanes or merging over a solid line costs drivers $109 and two penalty points in B.C. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
B.C. drivers caught crossing, merging over solid white lines face hefty fine

Ticket for $109, two penalty points issued under Motor Vehicle Act for crossing solid lines

Saanich council approves of a five-story multi-family development at 300 Gorge Road West and 2900 Tillicum Road. (Rendering via Alan Lowe Architect Inc.)
Saanich approves five-storey, mixed-use development for Tillicum area

Plans include 53 residential units, three commercial units at Tillicum Road, Gorge Road West

Rose Sawka, 91, waves to her son through the window of a care home in Prince Rupert in October. Residents of the care home received their first vaccine dose Jan. 20. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
B.C. care home visitor access to expand by March, Dix says

Staff, residents, essential visitors top priorities for vaccine

(Pixabay photo)
Sooke Minor Fastball eyes return to diamond

Pitching clinics already underway

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Most Read