Joe Bosshard finishes 4th overall at the PanAm XC Cup in Venezuela helping Team USA win Gold. 

Former CU Buff standout Joe Bosshard‘s racing is coming back to form. In his first real race since 2014, he easily took the win at the Winter Classic XC race in Boulder this January then headed to Bend Oregon in February for USA Nationals where he was 6th overall. The top 5 of that race were selected to compete at the Pan American Cross Country Cup in Venezuela, Friday March 4th. As fortune would have it, one of the top 5 didn’t take the offer, opening a spot for Joe.

The 2nd edition of the ADA Pan Am Cup was held at the Caraballeda Golf Course in the state of Vargas, Venezuela and fielded athletes from 10 countries in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Its no surprise that in a Central American country with an downturned economy with the people lacking of basic necessities, that the conditions were less than ideal. The course was dry and dusty, the weather hot and humid, there was no air conditioning in the rooms nor are there any mosquito nets over the windows or beds, the threat of the zika virus was real. Meals were limited to one trip through the line, and water was rationed for 27 athletes to just 40 bottles a day. (From Joe’s account on Run2Run, they were able to supplement with a water purifier and Gatorade from the hotel.)

“The rooms had 3 single beds. Light fixtures were hanging by wires. 1 of the 4 showers I took had hot water. No glass or screens on the windows and the bedding had some suspect stains. Some people didn’t have electricity the first night as they didn’t realize you had to flip the breakers in the rooms to turn things on,” Joe writes on Run2Run.com. He adds, “But hey, we were there to run a race, not enjoy a bed.”

Pan Am XC Cup in Venezuala

The course at the Pan Am XC Cup held in Venezuela. Photo by Joe Bosshard

The 10k course was a “2k loop with one steep-ish hill about 80m long and one longer, more gradual hill, maybe 150m in length. To jam everything into a small space and still come up with the required distance there were A LOT of “S” turns and back and forth on the course.  Not much in terms of a straightaway.  I really enjoyed it.  I thought it was an honest and fair cross country course. Most people who I spoke with felt the same way.”

In the Senior Men’s 10k race, Donald Cowart of the USA took the overall win, Max King was 3rd while Bosshard was 4th overall, helping to to secure Team USA with the win.

“Upon crossing the finish line, you would have thought the US team was actually composed of Leo DiCaprio, B. Pitt, Clooney, and other better looking, more well-known dudes than us, because we literally did not stop taking pictures with people for 30 straight minutes.  Every delegation wanted a picture.  Kids, who I assume were from the area, wanted pictures. Everyone wanted our singlets.” – Joe Bosshard

Despite bleak accommodations, sparse food, heavily rationed water, and coming back to the states with a nasty flu like illness, which required antibiotics, Joe enjoyed the experience to the fullest.

“I say this about the Olympics too, there is something to be said about bringing people, from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, together to share in a common event.  If there is a way to make something like this work, where it doesn’t leave a local or national economy in financial difficulties, then these types of events should continue and there should be more of them.”

Read Joe Bosshard’s full post about the Pan American Cross Country Cup

Full Results for the Pan American Cross Country Cup

Pan American Cross Country Cup – Junior Men || Caraballeda, Venezuela #usa #PanAmXC #run2run

A photo posted by run2run (@_run2run_) on

Team USA Women’s team also came away with a first place win, Colorado runner Mattie Suver was the 2nd American, 8th overall behind teammate Allison Grace Morgan who took the overall win. Gina Slaby and Cally Macumber placed 10,11 to help secure the team win. 

#teamusa represented well!! 1st place team for men and women at PanAms today!!

A photo posted by Mattie Suver (@suver2) on