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
Recce days for November. If you would like to go round any of the courses with me to help with your navigation on the day here is an opportunity for you. Please note I will go at your pace (if I can keep up!)
Wednesday 2nd : Reservoir Dogs
Friday 11th : Welcome Ultra
Wednesday 16th : A Bridge too Far – part 1…
Friday 18th : A Bridge too Far – part 2
Wednesday 23rd : Urban Ultra – part 1
Wednesday 30th : Welcome Ultra
You are welcome to join me for any of these sessions. I am happy to anywhere between 10 and 32 miles. Start normally 8am from Otley, but I can be flexible if necessary. Also if you are available for any of the days but would prefer to do another route, please let me know. You can either reply on this thread or PM me. Look forward to seeing some of you soon.
Hardmoors 60 – What a way to comeback from Dying!
Friday January 22nd 2016 started out as any other day. It was day 114 of my ‘run every day’ streak running challenge where I had committed to running a minimum of 10K a day, every day. My body had adapted well and had got used to my daily 50-60-minute run. Only a few weeks earlier I had climbed Ben Nevis on New Year’s Eve in the snow, with my wife Bev and followed up with a 10K run when I got back down. On New Year’s Day I celebrated with a solo 19 mile run around Loch Leven. The week before I had run my fastest 10K and posted on Facebook that I had never felt fitter.
I had planned to run a half marathon that lunchtime, but got delayed so opted for a 10.5 mile run. All was going well the weather was good. I was really enjoying my run. The next thing I knew I woke up in intensive care three days later! I kept asking my family who were around my bed what had happened, all I could think of was that I had been hit by a car. The truth was scarier.
An artery leading into my heart had blocked due an hereditary condition. This had caused a heart attack and cardiac arrest due to no blood getting onto my heart. This had happened just 30 seconds from home. If I had reached home no one was there and I would not be here today. Thankfully a passerby saw me fall and started CPR Others helped and a defibrillator from the nearby post office appeared. It took four people 20 minutes and the defibrillator to bring me back to life. I stopped breathing 3 times at the scene and again in the air ambulance on the way to hospital. I was a very lucky person to survive. There were no warning signs at all, my cholesterol at the time of the heart attack was a mere 3.9. My arteries were in a very bad way though and I required a triple bypass which was performed in February.
My surgeon joked and said he would only operate if I promised to get back to long distance running. That was music to my ears. I had completed several Ultras in the past, but had to retire after 51 miles of the 2015 Hardmoors 60 so I had unfinished business and even in my hospital bed I knew that was my goal. My family were not too sure at this stage but within 24 hours of coming out of Intensive Care after the operation I had managed to climb a flight of stairs. I went home 4 days after the bypass and a week later went for a gentle walk. I steadily built this up until I started to jog then run again. I had a place in the Leeds Half Marathon and that was my first goal. I managed to complete it with a defibrillator on my back (to raise awareness of their benefits and to money to buy a further three). I ran alongside Bev and my eldest daughter Sherri.
I continued to train most days, but because Bev understandably did not like me running alone anymore I joined a running club, the furthest I managed to run for the next 4 months was a mere 10 miles – once. I thus entered the Hardmoors Princess ‘One-in-the-Middle’ 17.5 miles trail run just to check my stamina a fortnight before the Hardmoors 60 and had a really good run so all was set for my re-entry into the ultra-running scene just 7 months after my triple bypass.
So the day finally arrived and I was very nervous, but also excited. Could I actually achieve after a bypass what I failed to achieve before? Bev was there as my support 63 miles and 11500 feet of climb along the Cleveland Way from Guisborough to Filey. The target was to complete the race in under 18 hours. On the way to Runswick Bay I started to suffer, it was far warmer than forecast, my middle left toe felt broken (I wear orthotics due to a foot condition) and my calves were starting to ache. I was only 45 minutes within the cut off so really up against it. I nearly quit at that point only 21 miles in, but thought I would give it one more stage so that I had at least run further than a marathon.
On the way to the next checkpoint I met another runner, Lousie, who was to stay with me until the final stage. She encouraged me to start running again and at each following checkpoint we clawed more and more time back. However, as we left Scalby Mills, where I retired last year, my left leg finally gave up and was so painful I could hardly move. I persuaded Louise to carry on without me and called Bev. I was in tears and reluctantly admitting defeat. Bev had other ideas and gave my leg a deep massage. In conjunction with painkillers I was on my way again, but only made the last checkpoint by 5 minutes, leaving me 3 hours 5 minutes to do the last 9 miles through woods and along the coast from Scarborough to Filey in the dark, most of it past midnight and totally alone. I managed to get running again for 5 of those miles before my leg went again with a mile to go.
I managed to get to the finish with just seven minutes to spare on my watch. It was very much a combined effort and something I would not have been able to complete on my own without Louise and Bev. My heart was fine and at no point gave me any cause for concern. My big problem was my calves and shin splints, very unusual for me. After 4 hours sleep I got up for church the next day feeling fine, no blisters and no after effects. A big thank you to everyone who helped me achieve this amazing feat. I’m back!
I now want to give something back to the sport I love so much and have launched the Punk Panther Ultra Marathon Series. Six ultramarathons all starting from Otley, West Yorkshire in 2017. Visit www.punkpanther.co.uk for details.
photo courtesy and copyright of Sport Sunday Event Photography Ltd