A local two-time Olympian and coach with the University of Victoria will be coaching Team Canada this month at the Pan American Cross-Country Championship on Bear Mountain.
Last week Athletics Canada announced that Vikes cross country and track head coach Hilary Stellingwerff earned a spot as a coach for Team Canada.
Stellingwerff competed on the national team 10 times as a distance runner, running in the World Championships and twice in the Olympics, but never the Pan Am Games.
“It’s really an honour to be selected as a coach and carry over my experience as an athlete,” Stellingwerff said. “It’s nice to translate that into a national experience.”
Stellingwerff will be working with both men’s and women’s junior (U22) and senior programs under head coach Glenroy Gilbert, who won gold in the 1996 Summer Olympics as a member of a 4×100-metre relay team.
Senior teams will be competing on a 10-kilometre track, while the junior men run an 8 km race and the junior women compete at a 6 km distance.
“It’s neat to get athletes form all over Canada together and see how they work…and come together as a team.”
She’s also looking forward to coaching athletes from around the world on home soil.
“There’s the home field advantage for sure,” she said. “It’s really special.”
The 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championship is on Saturday, Feb. 29 in Langford. The event will include runners from around the world and will also provide kids, youth and community races.
In a statement, VICCA committee member Bob Reid said 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.”
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