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The High Life Ultra

07-Jul-2018 Otley, West Yorkshire, UK (England)

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Trail Race Race Terrain
125KM / 77Miles
1 Day - 200 Runners

Alternate Distances: 105KM/65M 80KM/50M 50KM/31M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Expert  

Entry From £40 GBP

The High Life is just that, starting from Otley it takes you to the highest points surrounding Otley for the best views around. Top the moors of Baildon Moor, (Skipton Moor), Askwith Moor, Lindley  Moor, The Chevin, Rombalds Moor and others. Please note this is our toughest event and as such is not recommended as a first Ultra Marathon due to the amount of climb and time on the moors. If you wold like to enter you will be required to show evidence of previous ultra running experience. For the Short course this may be any other ultra, for the longer courses you will need to meet an entry requirement of ITRA points (or equivalent 2017 Punk Panther Races). If you are unsure please drop us a quick email and will can check with you.

Distance: 50/80/105/125km (31/50/65/77 miles)

Climb:  1300/2000/2400/2900 metres (4200/6500/8000/9200 ft)

ITRA POINTS: 3/4/4/5

Maximum Entrants: 200

Cost: £40/£50/£75/£75 (£1 of each entry will go to St.Gemma’s Hospice): Early Bird £35/£45/£70/£70 for entries by 1/6/18

Car Park: Station Top, Otley off East Chevin Road

Registration: From 7.30am at the Yorkshire Runner Shop, 38 Bondgate, Otley, LS21 1AD (5 mins walk from the car park) 01943 666750 – Get your last minute running equipment from Tim who organises the race numbers for us.

Start: 8.30am at Station Top, Otley (6am from Pool Methodist Church for the 125k)

Event Closes: 2am

Maps Recommended: OS Explorer Maps OL2, 288 and 297. The 50km route will also be taped.

Checkpoints: Each checkpoint will have water, coke, jelly babies, peanuts, Jaffa cakes, marshmallows and flapjacks. CP5 onwards will also have pork pies and cheese as well as hot drinks.

  • Checkpoint 1: Baildon 10km (6 miles): Open 9.15am to 10.30am
  • Checkpoint 2: Ilkley Moor 20km (13 miles): Open 10.15am to 12noon
  • Checkpoint 3: Skipton Moor 34km (21 miles) (Not on 50km course) BAG DROP: Open 11.30am to 2.15pm
  • Checkpoint 4: Addingham 27/47km (17/29 miles): Open 10.45am to 4pm
  • Checkpoint 5: Timble 41/61km (25/38 miles): BAG DROP: Open 12.30pm to 6.30pm
  • Checkpoint 6: North Rigton 74km (46 miles): (Not on 50km course): Open 5pm to 8.30pm
  • Checkpoint 7: Golden Acre Park 88km (54 miles) (Only on 105/125km course): Open 6pm to 10.45pm
  • Checkpoint 8: Bayton Lane 99/(61 miles) (Only on 105/125km course): Open 7.30pm to 12.30am

(For 125km race add 10km/6 miles to all checkpoint distances – first checkpoint is the start after 10km/6 miles)

Finish: Pool-in-Wharfedale Methodist Church, Main Street, Pool-in-Wharfedale, LS21 1LH – There is NO parking at the Finish (please ask friends and family to park sensibly in the village)

Every finisher receives a medal, A ‘High Life’ Tech T-shirt and Certificate as well as a hot meal at the finish. Event finishing positions are done in order of distance completed then time completed.

A GPX file of the exact route is available upon request. The file is provisional and will be confirmed as soon as entries close.

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Event Organiser
Ryk Downes

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

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Simon-Bourke

11:43 22-10-17

The sun (nearly) always shines for Punk Panther. This race was the fifth in this new series of Ultras; see also reviews for The Welcome Ultra, A Bridge Too Far and The Urban Ultra.
This is the description of the 80k, (I’ve gone metric), race; there are also 50K and 105K distances.

A combination of a cold north westerly wind, overcast skies, drizzle, low lying cloud, wet ground, remote moorland and some steep climbs made this the toughest race of the series, so far. The other races are all a challenge, (for us mere mortals, possibly not the elite), however this one is a step up from others.

This made it all the more rewarding. I have enjoyed every one of the races in this series, with each one having an aspect that was different, and touched a different part of my psyche. The part that is slightly masochistic, but also likes a bit of a challenge.


This race is not for the faint hearted, it’s a proper challenge with a fellow competitor stating, (via the excellent Punk Panther Facebook Group page), that it was definitely harder than the Hardmoors.

The weather has autumnal with the addition of breezy north westerly wind that made the section up to Skipton, 37k (on the 80k), quite cold.

The start is straight up the Chevin with 600ft of climbing in the first mile, before heading across a mixture of road, and fields before emerging onto the slopes of Baildon Moor. A nice free running section, before dropping to the road, to head across and up more fields, and then a short section on a busy road to enter Rombald’s Moor.

The route then heads across Bingley Moor, Ilkley Moor and Addingham Moor side. Great views and great running. Another fields and minor roads section ensues on the approach to Skipton Moor. On the lower slopes of the Moor is the first very boggy section of the run, with no seeming way around other than to squelch your way through.

Check point 3 is at the bottom of Jenny’s Gill which is a steep drop down, where you may come across other runners who are working their back up the hill, which gives you a clue that for every step you are descending you will soon be re-ascending.


This is the usual Punk Panther, welcome, welcoming and efficient checkpoint.

The route to the next check point in Addingham, after the climb out of Jenny’s Gill, was undulating with a little complex route finding to food and drink at the suspension bridge.

The next 9 miles were the hardest of the race, with a steady ascent through farmland paths to the edge of the Moor and then a steep climb to the summit to conclude over 1000ft of climbing. A high level route with some very boggy sections follows. I, and (at least one other runner) going thigh deep in the mud. Great views across the lower Wharfedale valley, where you are able to trace most of the last 30 miles you have covered along the visible skyline, and most of the next 20 still to do.

Leaving the Moor, you enter a wood on a wide easy running gentle downhill track. A tough few fields follow, rough underfoot, muddy and numerous stiles to the next checkpoint at Low Snowden.

The radio mast at Stainburn Forest signposts the way, however you have to drop down to cross the Washburn before climbing about 500ft, but are rewarded with great views across Swinsty Reservoir.

The route then skirts the northern part of the forest and, as the weather had improved, there were views all the way across to the North Yorkshire Moors. As the sun always shines on Punk Panther, we were rewarded with a rose tinged sun setting across Roseberry Topping. Next year the race is being moved to earlier in the year to gain the benefit of additional daylight, so this was probably the first and last showing.

The only problem with sunsets, is the sun sets. With the onset of darkness it was time for the head torches. This was when the benefits of my fellow runner’s Garmin watch really came into play. Ryk directions are good, and the tape also helps, but in darkness it’s hard to get accurate bearings. However computer says yes…and if you trust it, rather than your slightly pickled brain, which after 11 hours of running loses the ability to function properly and even the ability to efficiently open and close a stile latch, you don’t go wrong.

Approaching checkpoint 5 Ryk (the organiser) called and advised I was 3rd in the 105km race and unlikely to change my position. The option of turning right at that checkpoint and having 8km left, or continuing ahead and having 25km to go, came into play. Well not for long, the lure of less than an hour run, and the potential to get a pint in my local pub before closing time, was too tempting.

For this race I ran with Ian Winstanley for more than 10 hours, we have a very similar pace and he proved excellent company for a race where I could have been running solo for long periods.

We linked arms to cross the finish line together, and instead of 3rd in the 105km, resulted in surprising but extremely welcoming joint 1st in the 80km. An occurrence never likely to be repeated in my lifetime, as I am sure next year there will be a bigger field for this excellent race.

The high life was the highlight of the series so far. That’s not to denigrate the other races in the series which have all been great, but using a Cycling analogy, this is the Queen stage.

Roll onto the season’s finale, the Short Circuit, in two weeks time.

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