Race date: 03/03/2018
Race report by Vincent Baker
What better race to choose for my first ultra than the aptly named Welcome Ultra organised by Punk Panther. During a week that most organisers were cancelling their events, the heroic Ryk and team were out taping the course in blizzards, battling winds up to 60mph and temperatures down to -15°C. Bev provided regular updates of the course conditions and photos, which enabled everyone to make an informed decision to race or otherwise.
At 32 Miles & 4300ft of climb, the race started in Otley, passing through Denton, Burley Moor, Shipley Glen, Baildon Moor, Yeadon, The Chevin and finished in the village of Pool-in-Wharfedale. An optional loop from Shipley Glen, adding 7 miles and 1700ft climb could be chosen mid race.
The snow was challenging, but my pace meant that the fast ones ahead had cleared and compacted some of the tougher, deeper snow drifts for me. Burley Moor had a lovely combination of snow on bog, I went deep! At Shipley Glen I tackled the extra loop and experienced the friendly side of Ultra running. Thanks for the good company and good chat from everyone I met on route (especially Will & James). By the time I got to Yeadon I was starting to feel the cold so re-upped the tempo for the final 5 miles and surprised myself by finishing 5th out of the 24 long route runners. Plenty of cups of tea and a hot meal were ready for all at the finish.
Punk Panther have a 6 race calendar which is definitely worth a look and Ryk has an inspirational personal story. I’ll certainly do another Ultra at some point in the future, but for now I just want to add my thanks to all those involved (volunteers/team/runners) who enabled me to have a fantastic day running on Saturday.
First over the extended 63km course was Matthew Wilkinson of Nidd Valley Road Runners in a time of 7:23:01. The Classic 51km race was won by David Stoneman of Skyrac Athletic Club in 5:11:33 and first lady was Emma Wilkins of Baildon Runners in a time of 6:21:52. Congratulations Vincent on a top 5 placing in such demanding conditions!
Full results at http://punkpanther.co.uk/welcome-ultra-2018-results/