Ellie’s Midnight Run: Belmont High’s Shea Ventures To The Land Down Under To Race In World U20 XC Championships

Photo: Belmont’s Ellie Shea will be racing 10,000 miles from home Saturday in a land down under.

What are you doing over the February school break? Belmont High junior Ellie Shea will be flying 10,000 miles (think of the air miles!) over 24 hours to take part in a race that takes 17 minutes to run.

Shea will be wearing the USA vest as she toes the line at the World Athletic Cross Country Championships in the outback town of Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia at around midnight Saturday, Feb. 18, Belmont time. Shea will be running in the Under-20 race competing against 72 of the world’s best young runners from 19 countries.

The two-time national high school 5,000-meter champion indoors and outdoors on the track joins a squad made up of mostly high schoolers who will take on the 6K (3.73 miles) loop course located in the infield of theĀ Mount Panorama Circuit, which will include tire obstacles, a trip through a vineyard, and a mud field. The 17-year-old earned her spot on the team by placing second at the USATF U20 Championships in Richmond, VA in mid-January. Shea, who runs for the Emerging Elites club, finished second in December’s ChampsĀ Sports High School Cross Country Championships National Finals to her U20 teammate Karrie Baloga.

One of five races, the junior women’s race is scheduled to start at 4:10 p.m. or 1610 UTC. With Bathurst 16 hours ahead of Boston, Shea’s race will take off just after midnight on Saturday. Hopefully, Belmont will be able to watch the race live by going to the World Athletics YouTube and Facebook channels. The race will be carried live on Peacock, NBC’s streaming channel noted in the US for carrying live matches of England’s Premier League.

Australia’s oldest inland European settlement, Bathurst is three hours due west from Sydney on the expansive plains just beyond the Blue Mountain Range. The town is well-known for the aforementioned motor racing track and as a designated spot for tourism by Australians.

The weather forecast for Saturday’s race is clear skies and temperatures in the low-to-mid 90s which is not the environs that would lead one to believe there will be optimum performances.

So chookas on the big race, Ellie.

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