MYRTLE BEACH – A national cross country championship event
will return to Myrtle Beach in 2014 with the potential of bringing 2,300
runners and injecting about $2 million into the Grand Strand economy,
officials said Tuesday.
The Junior Olympic Cross Country
Championships will take place Dec. 13, 2014 at Whispering Pines Golf
Course, an event that is expected to bring thousands of athletes,
relatives and coaches to the beach during the off-season and give the
area another push in its goal of boosting sports tourism, officials
This will be the third national championship event through
the USA Track & Field association to take place in Myrtle Beach,
which in 2011 hosted the same cross country event and the youth track
and field championship.a sports briefs
In 2011, 2,300 runners from 46 states participated in the cross
country championship in Myrtle Beach, spending about $2.1 million while
in town, officials said.
The national event introduces Myrtle
Beach to visitors who might not otherwise come here, said John Pedersen,
an assistant city manager for Myrtle Beach who was involved in bringing
the 2014 event to the beach. In 2011, 40 percent of participants were
from non-traditional visitor markets west of the Mississippi, including
400 from California, he said. Officials’ goal is for some of those to
return on vacation.
“This is an exposure to Myrtle Beach for those who would otherwise not be in Myrtle Beach,” Pedersen said.
Beach beat out Charlotte, N.C., and Gainsville, Fla., to host the event
in 2014, he said. About a dozen locals and statewide USA Track &
Field representatives pitched Myrtle Beach during the USA Track &
Field annual meeting in Daytona Beach, Fla., that wrapped up Dec. 2.
group, which included Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and Olympic
athlete and former Coastal Carolina University standout Amber Campbell,
emphasized the course and the beach’s many attractions as reasons to
have the event here.
The national committee picked Myrtle Beach
as the host in 2014 because of the success here in 2011, as well as the
weather and the locals who help organize the event and line up
volunteers, said Katie Branham, spokeswoman for USA Track & Field.
cross country championship rotates around the country, with the 2012
event wrapping up last week in Albuquerque, N.M. It will be in San
Antonio, Texas next year.
“It would be nice to be on a regular rotation for these events,” city spokesman Mark Kruea said.