The 2022 Mount Panorama Punish field getting close to full capacity

Mount Panorama Punish organisers Jenn Arnold and Stephen Jackson. Picture by Alexander Grant.

MOUNT Panorama Punish organisers Jenn Arnold and Stephen Jackson have been blown away by the support being thrown behind this Sunday’s race by both local and visiting runners.

The lap of the Mount has opened back up to visiting runners this year – after COVID reduced the 2020 race to a Central West-only event and in 2021 cancelled it completely – and with entries closing this Wednesday night it’s looking like the field will get close to its 1,000-strong capacity.

Former winners Dave Criniti (2019) and Lachlan Oakes (2017) are confirmed to be among the entry list while the Bathurst trio who filled out the 2020 podium – Miller Rivett, Aaron Houston and Max Martinez – will also be ones to watch.

Arnold said it’s been a delight to see the field reach a new record high in numbers.

“We had to cap entries so we could order bibs and medals but we didn’t really back ourselves, because we didn’t know what to expect. It has surpassed our expectations,” she said.’

“We’ve placed another order for medals, which are on their way, and we’re getting close to filling out. We’re at close to 900 at the moment, and 1,000 is our max, so we’re excited to see what happens.”

The only requirement to be classified as a finisher in the Punish is to reach the peak in half an hour and complete the entire event inside an hour.

Rain could be on its way but that won’t get in the way of this weekend’s race.

“We were expecting to see numbers up because we had a lot of interest but there were a lot of other events also popping back up at this point of the year,” Jackson said.

“The Mount is iconic and everyone wants to run this one. The cut-offs, while they require you to work hard, it’s doable if you can do your local parkrun in under 45 minutes, that’s the key.

“We’re really looking forward to it, and rain won’t get it the way of it either. Runners have better traction than cars so it’s definitely going to be on.”

Word has reached far and wide about the Mount Panorama Punish’s return this year, and it’s led to a rise in interstate competitors.

“There’s a parkrun adventurer’s podcast who broadcast obviously around the world and they’ve chosen the Mount Panorama Punish as their parkrun adventurer’s local meetup for the year,” Arnold said.

“Every year they organise to do a local parkrun and then meet up for a local parkrun event. We’ve got a big contingent of parkrunners coming from all parts of Australia, as well as a couple from Europe and New Zealand to do both events on the weekend.

“Dave Criniti is coming back for this one and he has the current course record of 21:09. He’s bringing a whole bunch of school kids from around the state who are disadvantaged, as part of the Run Beyond Project, which is great,” Jackson added.

“There’s interest out of Canberra from a couple of the faster ones there, but there’s also a bunch of our local guys like Miller, Aaron and Max who are getting faster on a national level. Even with the faster guys turning up, those locals will give them a good run for their money.”

Entries for the event close 11.59pm on Wednesday night.

Western Advocate 18/10/2022 by Alexander Grant