USA Track and Field has selected Bend to host the 2016 and 2017 USATF Cross Country Championships, Visit Bend announced today.
“Bend proved to be a wonderful host when the city staged the Club Cross Country Championships in 2013,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said in a release. “Our athletes had a great experience and we’re happy to introduce Bend to another group of elite athletes who will be competing at an individual level.”
The competitions will take place around the River's Edge Golf Course, using course modified from the 2013 event.
“I’m thrilled with the updates to the course, and I’m confident it will reward the fittest athletes in the group,” explained Bend's own USATF cross country champ Lauren Fleshman. “This race is going to embody the passion so many of us feel for cross country running and the community of Bend.”
The competition, planned for early February, will bring athletes and spectators to Bend during a time of year known as the "should season"—a slower time for tourism and one that Visit Bend has sought to fill.
“Not only does it boost our economy during the race itself, but introduces our amazing city to a new group of people who may eventually choose to spend their vacations here,” said Visit Bend Director of Sales & Sport Development Kevney Dugan.
Good news for those segments of the local economy fueled by tourism as well as for those who would like to see the sport of cross country more established in Central Oregon.
“I’m excited to once again have the highest level of cross country competition in Bend,” professional distance runner Max King said. “Having two years of championships and a world cross country team selection race will help establish a cross country legacy for the course, venue, and the town of Bend for the future.”
Are you excited to have the championship events coming to town?
You can check out video of the course below.