March 1, 2021

Cross Country event spotlights Chambers Creek Regional Park as sports host

is taking things to a new level March 4–5 when it welcomes the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships. The University of Washington Huskies host the event, which will include 250 participants from 11 colleges—all safely in a bubble and following COVID-19 protocols.

While there won’t be spectators to cheer on the runners, there are still ways to catch the action. For the most up to date information about the event, visit the Pac-12 website.

Just the start

The March championships are a prelude to an even bigger event next year. Chambers Creek Regional Park will be the site of the Division II NCAA Cross Country Championships. More than 500 student athletes – along with family, fans and spectators – will head to Pierce County for the national event in November 2022.

Dean Burke, President and CEO of Travel Tacoma – Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, has long seen Chambers Creek Regional Park as an incredible asset and believes its potential as a sports-event venue goes beyond golf. For years, Travel Tacoma has worked strategically in partnership with Pierce County to lay the groundwork for what was needed to be a regional and national-level sports host.

“Cross-country running is a shoulder-season event, right when venues and hotels need it the most,” Burke said. “These first two wins for collegiate events are the fruits of that work. We’re optimistic the trajectory only goes up from here.”

Convention Center doors reopen

Slowly and safely, Pierce County is seeing the reemergence of some events after nearly a year of quiet. In February, the 2021 Charity Choice Invitational gymnastics competition was held at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. It was the first major event in the city since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, and a year of planning and Pierce County’s timely move to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan allowed it to happen. Data is being processed to determine the economic impact of the event.

Not quite a “return to normal” affair, the appointment-based event limited groups of athletes in scheduled blocks and was closed to the public. “It was a small event in comparison to pre-COVID world, but it was the right-sized thing to start this process,” Burke said. “We felt the return to a safe level of vitality on the streets of Tacoma and in the halls of the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.”


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