The Canadian Cross Country Championships come to Abbotsford’s Clearbrook Park on Saturday. (Athletics Canada photo)

Canadian Cross Country Championships in Abbotsford on Saturday

Hundreds of the best runners in the country competing at Clearbrook Park

Hundreds of runners are expected to hit the trails of Abbotsford’s Clearbrook Park on Saturday for the Canadian Cross Country Championships.

Nearly every province will be represented at the event, with large teams coming from Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. The event will also be streamed live on AthleticsCanada.tv.

The event will crown individual champions in masters, U16, U18, U20, para and senior divisions, and team championships in U18, U20 and senior.

Course distances are the following: U16 and U18 girls (four kilometres), U18 boys, U20 girls and masters 70+ (six km), masters and U20 boys (eight km) and senior women and men (10 km).

B.C. will have a large contingent of athletes competing, with the home team being led by defending men’s 10km champion Luc Bruchet.

The 28-year old from White Rock competed for Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games team in the 10,000 metres event. Bruchet is a world-class runner and he is once again favoured to win the senior men’s race. He won the 2018 competition with a time of 29:54.9.

Natasha Wodak is an accomplished distance runner from Surrey who represented Canada in the 10,000m at both the World Cross Country Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

A veteran of international distance running events, Wodak will definitely be the runner to beat in the women’s 10 km race.

Trinity Western University graduates will have a strong contingent of runners taking part in the meet. Sarah Inglis is an accomplished distance runner who has won major races in Scotland, Victoria and at the collegiate level.

Another Trinity graduate who will be a definite threat in the women’s 10 km race is Regan Yee. A member of Canada’s World Championship contingent, Yee placed fifth in the 3 km steeplechase at last summer’s Pan American Games

Taryn O’Neil, who is a member of Northern Arizona‘s University cross country team, will be returning from the NCAA Championships and is expected to be the runner to beat in the women’s junior 6 km run.

Madelyn Bonikowsky from the Kootenay Chaos and Jaiveer Tiwana from Delta are the 2019 girls’ and boys’ BC High School Champions from the meet held two weeks ago in Abbotsford and they are expected to be strong contenders in the under 18-year races at these championships.

The races kick off at 9:15 a.m. with the masters, 10 a.m. for U16 girls and boys, 10:30 for U18 girls, 11:15 for U18 boys, noon for U20 girls, 12:45 for U20 boys, 1:30 p.m. for senior women and 2:15 p.m. for senior men.

The event will return to Abbotsford in 2020, as it was announced back in August of 2017 that both the 2019 and 2020 Canadian Cross Country Championships will occur at Clearbrook Park.

For more on the event, visit athletics.ca.

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