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The Urban Legend Ultra

09-Sep-2017 Otley, West Yorkshire, UK (England)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
65KM / 40Miles
1 Day

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Advanced  


Event Organiser
Ryk Downes



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Review The Urban Legend Ultra

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11:38 10-09-17

The sun always shines for Punk Panther. This race was the fourth in this new series of Ultras; see also review for The Welcome Ultra, A Bridge Too Far and Reservoir Dogs.

As for the other three races, the sun did come out, but not before we started in a downpour and encountered another and also some light rain. But overall the conditions were much better than the forecast with a welcoming dose of sun.

This is the description of the 40 mile race, although with my usual ability to go wrong at some point, and my Garmin usually being a little optimistic on distance and height; I clocked it at 43.27 miles and 5079ft of climbing.

This race is a little different to a number of other trail races as more than half of the race takes place in a city. However the ingenuity of this course is that for only a few miles are you running in city centre streets. The route cleverly links up greenways and city parks. Starting in Otley and finishing in Pool means the first few miles and the last few you are in country side, and the vista as you emerge onto the approach to Eccup reservoir, looking over Wharfedale, is stunning.

The route does mean that there are numerous changes in directions, and even with excellent yellow tape marking, running with others who had the route on their watch and the written instructions – it’s still easy to miss a turning.

The start is straight up the Chevin with 600ft of climbing in the first mile, before heading across undulating fields for a stretch of street running around Yeadon to get to Yeadon Tarn. Being a Saturday morning, the dog walkers were out in force.

Once into the northern suburbs of Leeds, much of the paths were through woodland, which gave protection from the showers and one heavy but short-lived down pour. The paths having tree coverage and with a preceding week of mostly rain, meant they were surprisingly muddy and my choice of trail shoes proved to be the optimum footwear.

Well-staffed and stocked checkpoints at approximately 5 mile gaps were as welcome, welcoming and efficient as usual.

For a small entrant field, ran with a surprisingly large group of between five and six other participants for about the first 15 miles, which was enjoyable with camaraderie, swapping of stories and collective route finding and shouted corrections to those about to go off-piste.

After leaving Rawdon, the route dropped down to Rawdon Meadows, one of the many hidden surprises that I never knew existed. An amazingly flat and well-groomed set of football / multi-sport pitches nestling in the valley, followed by a lovely stretch along the Aire.

Entering the City the route still managed to weave its way though on mostly paths and parks before joining the Meanwood Valley trail, which works its way to the northern outskirts of Leeds. Just the presence of odds spots of rubbish giving clues that you are not out in the countryside but are actually in a major city.

By this time I was running on my own and using a combination of spotting yellow tape the written instructions. For this race, instead of meeting my minimal obligations of having to carry them,(but double sided copying and reduced to font size unreadable for my ageing eyes), I had two sets. With painstakingly bullet added points added to end up with nine pages of instructions. That was extremely sensible and worth every return stroke on the keyboard the night before.

But for every ying there is a yang.

So just one mile after the last checkpoint I lost the plot. Without looking or noticing, someone had placed a dickhead cap on my head. Upon emerging at the main road near Pool, and knowing I had to cross Old Pool Bank ran past the left handing, just a few meters away and instead ran down to the bottom of Old Pool Bank and tried to follow instructions which were from the top of Old Pool Bank, five bullet points later. A little bumble bee impression ensued, where I ran around in circles for a few minutes before realising I really should retrace my steps, and get back onto the route and the every welcome sight of yellow tape.

Found the next few miles route finding to the next check point a little difficult. However at the last checkpoint they must have removed the dickhead cap, and a smooth few final miles took me to the finish.

Despite my best endeavours to sabotage a good finish, came in 7th overall and 1st MV50. The first sporting event I have probably won since…well since about the same time someone did the Tour de France and La Vuelta double.

So chapeau Chris Froome; and to all at Punk Panther for another enjoyable and satisfying day out.

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