Mount Panorama Punish maximum field size extended to 1,200 following strong entry numbers

THIS October’s fifth edition of the Mount Panorama Punish will feature the biggest field the event has seen after organisers recently lifted the capacity limit up to 1,200 runners.

IT’S BACK: This year’s edition of the Mount Panorama Punish will be the first full capacity field since 2019 (pictured). Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

The push up to a four-figure capacity means the race is set to feature 1,000-plus runners for the first time in its short history.

The punish is set to make its return following a one year absence, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reduced-capacity 2020 edition only allowed competitors from the Western region.

Now the one lap race around Mount Panorama is back literally bigger than ever, which excites co-organiser Stephen Jackson to no end.

“We’ve had a look at how it’s organised, and we’ve talked to [Mount Panorama circuit manager] Mark Rayner up at the track about what our limitations are and how we need to tie it in with the facilities,” he said.

“With an organising committee of two, that’s getting quite significant but we’re confident the track can certainly handle it and the volunteers that we have are keen to help drive that growth.

“It’s a lovely enclosed environment so we’re very comfortable with the increase in limits but also in the number of entries, that have been rolling in from all over Australia as well as New Zealand and the UK.”

The race was originally capped at 1,000 competitors based on the resources at hand but Jackson and co-organiser Jenn Arnold have expanded those in the wake of increased interest.

“When we started to see the numbers rolling in we thought we were going to hit that hard limit. That limit was in place purely because of the resources that we had and that an event of that size was very new for most of us,” Jackson said.

“We did our homework to make sure what was necessary with health and safety and resources such as toilets and parking. We’re confident that we can handle the numbers that are coming along.”

It now begs the question: What’s the true limit for the Mount Panorama Punish in terms of size?

While Jackson’s enjoyed seeing the numbers rolling in for the 2022 race he’s in no rush to see entry caps expand rapidly.

“We’d be very stretched if we ever got closer to that 2,000 mark. We’d need a much bigger committee in place and a much more resources in place for the lead up work, like merchandise and health and safety,” he said.

“The great thing is that the parking structure for such an expansion is already in place at Mount Panorama. We can extend into the grassed carpark if needed, but we’d need more hands on deck to control all of that.

“It’s one step at a time. I’ve been involved and seen events in the past that have got too big, too quick. It’s well and truly a controlled environment, so that part of it is okay, but it’s just the logistics around it we need to monitor.

“The reputation of the punish has been great and the community around it has been strong, and we don’t want to lose that.”

Western Advocate 9/6/2022 by Alexander Grant

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