World Masters I Bathurst23 (© Bathurst23)
Together with World Athletics, the local organising committee (LOC) for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 23 and World Masters Athletics have reached a historic agreement to host the World Masters Athletics Short Course Cross Country Championships on the same course from 18-19 February.
Cross country runners aged 35 and older can enter individually but must then be approved by their respective national federations. They will compete across two days of competition. The masters team relay of 4km (1 male, 1 female x 2km) conducted in five age groups (35-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+), will take place on Saturday, February 18. The individual championship events on Sunday will be races for five-year age categories (6km for ages 35-69 and 4km for 70+) as per World Masters Athletics rules.
Eleven-time world cross-country representative and Bathurst 23 LOC Director Steve Moneghetti said he was thrilled that the agreement had been signed, and masters athletes would have the opportunity to experience this hallmark event.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome masters athletes to the WXC Bathurst 23," he said. "We have such passionate runners of all ages and abilities from across the world coming along and together, we can prove that our sport really does cater to everyone."
“So many runners across the world begin their sporting journeys in cross country at school and it’s fantastic to see that there is still appetite for the discipline in older age groups. We’re pleased to be working with World Masters Athletics and World Athletics to widen our global athletics community and look forward to seeing everyone doing what they love against the backdrop of Mount Panorama.”
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “At the global governing body for athletics, we believe running is for everyone at every age, so I am delighted to see this new collaboration with World Masters Athletics. Cross country is a discipline that is dear to my heart and I’m looking forward to seeing athletes of all ages and abilities discovering the joys and challenges of off-road racing in Bathurst next year, alongside our elite runners.”
World Masters Athletics President Margit Jungmann added: "We are excited to offer this new opportunity for masters athletes around the world to come together and celebrate their love of running and competition, and to join with the best cross-country runners in the world to test themselves on the scenic Mount Panorama course at Bathurst in Australia. We are pleased to be working with World Athletics to make this a uniquely memorable event for all the masters athletes who attend."
Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said he is proud to see such distinguished sporting events making their way to the regions.
"It is exciting to see regional NSW becoming the new hub of major sporting events," he said. "Events such as this are bringing customers to our local cafés, travellers to our hotels and visitors to our neighbouring towns which is all supporting a stronger local economy."
“The NSW Government is contributing millions to make this event a reality. This is the most important competition in international cross country running and it will be in our backyard here in Bathurst.”
NSW Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said hosting the World Masters Athletics Short Course Cross Country Championships alongside the World Athletics Cross Country Championships was an excellent outcome for regional NSW.
“I look forward to seeing even more athletes turn out in Bathurst from around the globe," he said. "We can’t wait to showcase the incredible course, its amazing host city Bathurst and NSW’s phenomenal Central West region."
“Bathurst will be the centre of world athletics over this three-day event, providing an incredible atmosphere and a significant boost to the economy of the Central West. Delivering major international events to our regional centres attract more visitors and tempt them to stay longer and spend more money in local businesses."
WXC Bathurst 23, supported by the NSW Government and Destination NSW, is taking place from 17-19 February and will see more than 5000 participants, from grassroots athletes to the elite, take on the course.
Entries for the World Masters Athletics events at WXC Bathurst 23 will open on 8 November 2022 via the WXC Bathurst 23 and World Masters Athletics websites.