The Welcome Ultra 2020 Race Directors Report

So the 2020 season begins! Would you believe that today’s race was the 23rd Ultramarathon we have organised!

Given that the last three Saturdays have seen a different storm hit the UK it was not looking good, but those that did the 2018 Welcome Ultra in 4 foot drifting snow when all other races in the North were cancelled will know it takes more than that to stop a Punk Panther Race.

Part of the course disappeared on the loop and parts of the loop were underwater, so with a week to go I reccyed the loop with William Woodhead fortunately all looked good. Except that the Glovershaw Beck footpath was then closed due to subsidence. More of that later.

A total of 135 runners and Sweepers set off from Otley a new record for Punk Panther Races and amazingly 133 of you finished – another record. One of the retirements was after the last checkpoint.

The route was muddy, but it has been rapidly drying out over the last week and I don’t think it was as muddy as the first time the race was run in 2017.

Despite providing a map of the enforced detour before Shipley Glen some of you managed to go off course and exit via private property causing the land owner to contact me. I was able to sort this out and deploy a marshal to deal with the situation so disaster averted.

Sadly some of the tape had been removed from the Engine Fields in Yeadon I can never understand the mentality of people that remove tape.

There are many challenges that go on behind the scenes, but we ensure that you are all accounted for and safely home and thanks to the sweepers for their help in this and detaping the route. If any of you are out on this route or any other and encounter tapes or signs, please feel free to remove them (as long as it is not the week before a race!)

As I sit here typing from my office on the Chevin the wind has got up considerably and I understand the last checkpoint was very windy towards the end.

Everyone that I managed to speak to at the end seemed to enjoy the route and the challenge. I hope to see you all at a future event.

A final word of thanks to the marshals who made the whole thing possible, many going above and beyond and being flexible as the day unfolded. Also to Bev for cooking for 135 people and then serving it all up.

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