RISK ASSESSMENT – Welcome Way Saturday 4th March 2017
DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY
The Welcome Way is an ultra-marathon event organised Punk Panther Ultra Marathons. It is the first in a series of 6 events to be held in 2017. The event consists of a waymarked route that largely follows the Walkers are Welcome circular ‘Welcome Way’ route. It starts at the Weston Lane Community Centre on St.Martin’s Field in Otley and goes via Ben Rhydding, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Baildon, Esholt, Guiseley, Yeadon, The Chevin, Bramhope, before finishing in at Pool-in-Wharfedale Methodist church hall, It passes through 5 checkpoints on the way. The route is approximately 31.5 miles (50km) and competitors are allowed 9 hours to complete the course.
The event will take place on public footpaths and bridleways, public roads, other routes with public access and paths and tracks on access land. The Police and Highways authorities have been advised of the event and any recommendations they have made will been incorporated.
All runners and walkers, referred to hereafter as participants, are provided with a .gpx file of the exact route, a full route description with potential hazards highlighted with an overview map and six figure map references for all the checkpoints. The Race Director will also include warnings of potential hazards in a pre-event brief at the start.
All participants are required to carry the following mandatory equipment;
Hat or Buff,
Waterproof jacket with taped seams,
500ml water / Isotonic drink,
Emergency food (an energy bar or similar)
Fully charged mobile with the Emergency contact number of the Race Director that should be switched on at all times.
Also, we will recommend the following equipment;
Suitable map of the route (OS Maps 297 & 288 are advised),
Basic First Aid Kit,
Headtorch. (competitors are however expected to finish in daylight)
All starters are provided with a unique numbered race bib during the registration process on the day, just prior to the start. This number, which is to be worn at all times, relates to the participant’s entry form which holds details used for information purposes, such as emergency contact details. The reverse of the race number will include any known medical conditions and allergies, for the competitor to file out if required. The race number also has the Race Directors mobile number at the bottom.
The start point acts as the overall control base for participant administration until the last participant has gone through the first check point. Thereafter the control base moves to the finish.
To ensure that all participants pass through certain points, thereby eliminating short cuts and to aid the location of any lost or injured participant should they occur, five manned checkpoints are located throughout the route. At each checkpoint all participants passing through are identified by their race number and their arrival time is recorded. Each checkpoint lead marshal will have the entry list/race numbers with any known medical conditions or allergies included. Refreshments and basic first aid will be available at each checkpoint. In addition, marshals, will be placed around the course to assist participants at locations the Race Director feels beneficial for the running of the event.
Checkpoint marshals will record participant’s arrival times on a Checkpoint Control Form which contains a definitive list of participant status, (e.g. active, retired or non-starter). Each Checkpoint will also use a Bingo Card arrangement to check off race numbers. All participant administration, such as numbers, times and status, will take place after checkpoint closure and then be phoned through to the Race Director.
Participants are required to retire from the event at manned checkpoints only and to inform the checkpoint marshal accordingly and by definition cease to take part in the race. The participants race number will be retained by the checkpoint marshal who will update the Checkpoint Control Form and inform the Race Director. In the case of retirement transport to the finish will be arranged. To assist with any participants with issues a sweeper team will operate at the slowest pace that the event can be completed in the allotted time.
All marshals are to wear Hi Viz clothing for the duration of the checkpoint being open and will provide simple snack food, water and basic first aid equipment.
After the last participant has passed through a checkpoint, the bingo card numbers are checked with the Checkpoint Control Form thereby double checking the number of participants.
This number is relayed to later checkpoints via the Race Director so that at each checkpoint there is a check that all participants have passed through.
Anyone wishing to retire and not able to make the next checkpoint should contact the Race Director who will arrange for them to be recovered from the course if necessary. If the sweepers arrive at a checkpoint and a participant has not been accounted for the Race Director will be informed. The Race Director will then attempt to contact the missing participant via telephone. If this is unsuccessful the Sweepers shall head back along the course and the Race Director will organise for a search party to go to the previous checkpoint and head towards the Sweepers.
The use of public roads in general, as well as specific locations on the route, shown below, have been identified as being potentially hazardous. Participants will be informed that at all road crossings they should take care, and that marshals will be available at main road crossings. However, their duties will not involve stopping the traffic and will advise if cars are approaching. It is the participant’s responsibility to ensure they are happy to cross. The public roads used on the route are, with the exception of those identified below, minor routes carrying little traffic. it is considered that these roads constitute a low risk due to the very small volumes of traffic on them.
At all locations, apart from within 1 mile of the start marshals will be double teamed in case of emergency.
- The Start and route out of Otley
ISSUE: Two estate roads to cross within the first half mile, with the participants in a large group.
CONSIDERATION: The two roads concerned are St.Richard’s Road and St. David’s Road. At the crossing point the roads serve less than 50 and about 100 houses respectively. There is little traffic at 9am on a Saturday. It is expected that as they are that close to the start participants will clear through within 5 minutes. There will be a marshal at each location to advise the runners to wait if a car appears. The runners do not have priority and will be advised of this in the event brief. Experience however shows that drivers will stop and allow the participants to clear through.
- Crossing of Denton Road/Iron Bridge/A65 at Ben Rhydding
ISSUE: Participants in potential conflict with fast moving traffic.
CONSIDERATION: A crossing point has been identified where there is a short-paved section of Denton Road with excellent visibility. Marshals will advise participants if they see cars approaching. Participants will be advised to take extra care crossing the ironbridge as there is no public footpath, so they will be in direct conflict with traffic. However, the traffic will be slow and there is sufficient room to pass. Crossing the A65 will be shortly after the ironbridge and at a location where there is a pedestrian refuge half way across. Traffic is very busy but usually queuing here ahead of the traffic lights at Ben Rhydding. Participants may have to wait to cross safely.
- Crossing Ilkley Railway Line x 2
ISSUE: Participants in potential conflict with trains on the Ilkley line.
CONSIDERATION: These locations are gated crossings on a public footpath that are well signposted. It is not possible to run straight onto the track. All participants will be informed of these crossings and advised to check both ways as trains are electric and frequent (thus quieter than diesel) although visibility is good. Network rail have been made aware of this event.
It is noted that if the conditions dictate marshals are to be stationed at the crossing point.
It should be noted that the rules of entry to the event state that all participants must be over the age of 18 and also the route information supplied warns participants to CROSS WITH CARE.
Taking these matters into consideration it is concluded that the risk of accident is deemed to be low and therefore the route is acceptable.
ISSUE: Participants will pass along the Main Street of the village of Burley-in-Wharfedale.
CONSIDERATION: There is only one main road to cross in the centre of Burley-in-Wharfedale and this is done at the junction (The event does not cross the Main Street). It is not considered a high risk as this is not a busy junction and has a small mini roundabout. Participants will be warned about this.
- Burley Moor.
ISSUE: Open exposed moorland, this is out of character with the rest of the route and there is a long steep climb to a high point. If a turning is missed there is an expanse of Rombalds Moor that a participant could get lost.
CONSIDERATION: The route will be taped at each junction on the approach and clear and simple instructions will be given to ensure the route is easy to follow without making any errors.
- Crossing Bingley Road.
ISSUE: A country road that whilst not busy can see very fast traffic.
CONSIDERATION: The road is very visible from the long descent off Burley Moor and requires climbing a stile to access the road. However due to the speed and remote location and also to assist with the next section of road marshals will be positioned here. They will also have a bingo card to ensure that all participants pass through this location and have come safely off the Moor.
- Crossing A6038 Hollins Hill.
ISSUE: A Very Busy Main Road.
CONSIDERATION: Marshals will be posted here to ensure the participants CROSS WITH CARE at this busy road. There is excellent visibility and the crossing is straight across to the continuing for the footpath opposite.
- Crossing Kirk Lane.
ISSUE: A Very Busy Main Road
CONSIDERATION: The route is diverted around The Old Dog Mill as the road crossing by the Robin Hood pub s considered unnecessarily too dangerous. Marshals will be posted here to ensure the participants CROSS WITH CARE at this busy road. There is excellent visibility and the crossing is straight across with the route continuing on the footpath opposite.
- Crossing Yorkgate.
ISSUE: Crossing of a Country Road.
CONSIDERATION: This is a very straight section of round with excellent visibility. Despite the unevenness of the road surface some drivers can get up some speed. There will be a checkpoint just off the road and participants will not cross until the checkpoint. This is give them time to safely negotiate the road.
- Crossing East Chevin Road.
ISSUE: Road crossing
CONSIDERATION: Whilst not a busy main road, the participants are coming downhill on Miller Lane and potentially may not stop in time for the road if not paying full attention, whilst this is a very minor risk, it is near the end of the event and so marshals will assist this crossing and show where the route goes opposite so that participants do not run along the road to a car park further up hill (a slightly quicker route but that would put them in unnecessary conflict with traffic.
- Crossing A658 Pool Bank.
ISSUE: Busy Main Road crossing
CONSIDERATION: As participants emerge from Danefield the path encounters the A658, this is a busy section of the road and marshals will be used as this is near the end of the event.
- Crossing A660 Bramhope.
ISSUE: Busy Main Road crossing
CONSIDERATION: As participants come down the hill out of Bramhope village centre they are on the outside of a bend with good visibility and there is a 50 metre stretch of road that can be crossed at any point. Marshals will be used as this is near the end of the event and they will advise participants where they are heading and give them the option where to cross.
- Crossing the A658/A659 x2.
ISSUE: Busy Main Road crossing
CONSIDERATION: Participants arrive on the East Side of the A658 as they leave Staircase Lane. Whilst the finish is located on the other side of the A658 it is not necessary to cross this road as the pavement on the other side is not wide enough for participants, instead they will cross the next road twice. There are three pedestrian crossings on the A659. The participants will use the first one on Arthington Lane and re-cross at the third one outside the village post office. This minimises the number of minor roads to cross and they are now less than 50 metres from the finish.
This route has been tested and completed by 7 runners without any dangers presenting themselves. It is considered that the above assessments are by way of extra precautions.
Taking all these issues into consideration the risk of accidents is considered to be low and therefore the route is acceptable for use on the Welcome Ultra.
Ryk Downes, Race Director, Punk Panther Ultra Marathons
3rd January 2017
Denton 6 miles – SE144490
Burley 11 Miles – SE170461
Shipley Glen 18 Miles – SE131390
Esholt 23 Miles – SE182404
The Chevin 27 Miles – SE206440