For runners who’ve been looking for an excuse to visit Bend, the USATF Cross Country Championships on February 4 are the perfect chance to both run as well as spectate, and watch some of the country’s best compete at the national level. There might be snow on the ground, but competitors will be in attendance no matter what the forecast holds. With qualifying spots on the line for the World Championships and Pan American Games along with cash prizes, the course will likely be packed with some of America’s fastest runners.
But you don’t have to be a USATF member (or even fast) to compete. A Community 4K and Brewer’s Cup Relay presented by Deschutes Brewery will be open to all runners. The Community 4K will kick off the day at 9am and traverse the course designed by professional runner, Max King. While the Championships are located at the River’s Edge Golf Course, don’t expect to be cruising through the middle of the fairways. Max has designed a technical cross country course that includes steep hill climbs, rocky terrain and trails destined to stir up some mud if the temperature is right. You’ll also get stellar views, a Nike Tech Tee and a chance to join in the camaraderie alongside some of USATF’s finest – all for just $10
New this year is the first annual Brewer’s Cup Relay presented by Deschutes Brewery, which will cap off the day’s events. Each runner belonging to a two- or four-person team will be provided with a beer from Deschutes Brewery and run a 1K loop on the Championship course, for a combined total distance of 4K. Winning teams will receive special awards, as well as their weight in beer. This new event is sure to bring out runners of almost all ages (over 21) who have a passion for beer and competition, along with some heckling from spectators. As a beer-lover’s paradise, this will be an ideal race for runners visiting Bend who are looking to add in some hops-fueled competition during their stay. Entry fee is just $20 per team.
The USATF Country Championship races will include Open, Masters, and Junior runners, with distances ranging from 6K – 10K. Runners from all over the U.S., including Olympic athletes, are expected to go up against one another throughout the day. Spectators will have the opportunity to watch races at several points along the course, and the events will also be televised live on www.USATF.tv from 12-4pm.
To register for the races above or find out more, visit www.xcnats.com. Surrounding events will include packet pickup at Deschutes Brewery on Friday, February 3, as well as Happy Hour at FootZone and a post-race party at Deschutes Pub in downtown Bend on Saturday evening. All events are open to event participants, volunteers, spectators and running (and beer) enthusiasts. To learn more or to order a complimentary Official Visitor Guide to Bend, contact Visit Bend at 1-800-949-6086 or visit www.visitbend.com.