The Long Road to Bathurst

by Clay Shaw
Photography by Clay Shaw and Karen Mitchell

Bathurst, Australia, February 17, 2023—It’s really far away, and it’s been a long wait. We lost a day flying to Australia from Philadelphia. Covid-19 postponed the event from 2021 to 2022, and finally to 2023. Even from Sydney, track work caused a train and bus scenario. Bathurst is the first settlement west of the Blue Mountains. Yes, gold was found here. Now the athletes are here and looking for gold. It’s the 44th running of World Athletics World Cross Country, and it’s been almost four years since the last running in Aarhus in March 2019. The Mount Panorama course is hard, and it’s hot, and there is virtually no shade. It should be great.

Here are a few thoughts from the press conference, and some photos on the course.

April Lund and Ben Bruce of the USA will be running the World Masters Championships Relay 4 x 2 km. Both athletes were overall champs of the master’s races held in Richmond, VA in January.
Watch out for these guys; we did see one on the grounds on Thursday night.
“Bondi Beach” is a feature on the course with lots of sand.
This is the most challenging XC we have covered yet. The course is challenging, and it will be quite hot.
The World Athletics World Cross Country Bathurst 2023 is held on Mount Panorama’s Motor Racing Circuit.
The vineyards have three rows to run through; no more than two across will fit in any row.
Press conference featured athletes Joshua Cheptegei (UGA), Emma Coburn (USA), Jessica Hull (AUS), and Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN).
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, who won World XC in Guiyang 2015, Kampala in 2017, and earned bronze in Aarhus in 2019, expressed his love for cross-country, despite moving his focus to marathons.
With the Mount Panorama course in the background. Featured athletes are Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN), Emma Coburn (USA), Joshua Cheptegei (UGA), and Jessica Hull (AUS).
Joshua Cheptegai of Uganda is the defending champion (Aarhus 2019). He expressed how mistaken strategy in 2017 taught him strength and most especially patience moving forward.
Emma Coburn of Colorado USA will be running in the team relay. Emma, who just lost her mom to cancer, eloquently expressed moving forward with her running.
Paul Tergat, Kenyan legend, won World XC five times and won silver in the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the 10,000 meter event.
Jessica Hull of Australia, who is running on the team relay, is delighted to participate in a world championship event on home soil.
Sebastian Coe, legendary runner, and now President of World Athletics. Lord Coe spoke of the importance of cross country and the epic, challenging courses of recent and coming years.
Next stop is Croatia in 2024.

Categories: Race Coverage

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2 replies

  1. Awesome job, as always!!!!


  2. Thank you Karen and Clay for taking us with you on your incredible Australian adventure.


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