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Sywell Country Park, NorthamptonshireSywell Country Park, NN6 0QX
Thu 7th October 2021
Starting at 09:00
For our events to be a success we need to take every step possible to ensure the transmission of COVID is as minimal as possible. Being an outdoor event helps but this is a different situation to you running alone in a park. These tweaks and adjustments may slow you down, may make the experience different to what you would like and expect. We make no apologies for this. If events are going to happen we have a collective responsibility to look after each other before during and after the event. This is the first running of an event we want to run for many years to come so we need to ensure we don’t have a negative impact on the communities we are running around.
Please read these instructions in detail. It is new to all involved so you will need to read it regardless of how experienced you are. Don’t be “that” idiot…!
Before the event
- If you are experiencing COVID symptoms do not travel to the event. If you are a volunteer do not travel to the event and let us know.
- Your bib will be posted to you (if you entered more than 2 weeks before race day) there will be no registration in the traditional sense. If you have moved since you entered please update your information by logging in at bigbearevents.net
- The pre-race briefing will be emailed and on youtube around 48 hours before the event.
- Please limit any spectators and crew. We will ask you to email us the names and phone numbers or any crew you will have at the event so we can pass these details on to the government track and trace if requested to do so. The event is planned so you can turn up and run it solo without the need for outside support. An aid station (roughly) every 5k is a high level of support.
- Please arrive during the time window you’ve been given before the event. Follow any on-site instructions with regard using the toilets, cafe etc.
- Hand sanitise before entering our HQ section.
- Please leave all your possession in your car. There are very few sites where we do not have our HQ very close to the car parks. If you MUST leave a bag at HQ (you’ve travelled by public transport for example) please ensure it is a small bag and you hand sanitise before and after accessing it.
- As above, the race briefing will be online 48 hours before the event.
- There will not be a mass start. There will be time trial starts spaced 15s apart. We will be sending people a 10 minute arrival window when we would like you to start/arrive between 8:30-9:30. This is to prevent crowding and help maintain social distancing. If there is an issue with your window contact us directly via email. Social distancing is essential though, so please don’t send a list of your 5 friends you want to run with, it just isn’t possible, and we all need to make adjustments. Given the nature of our events if someone is 30 minutes ahead of you all that means is they’re a lap ahead – so you could still run together (socially distanced) anyway!
- There will be toilets at HQ, please follow on-site directions and limitations.
- If you have arrived and you are ready to run please congregate away from the start line. We’ll call runners over to the start line (it’ll be a tiny walk) to limit bunching and crowding in a small space
During the event
- Maintain social distancing throughout the event. This means a minimum of 2m between you and other runners or members of the public. Where this isn’t possible run single file or if there are real pinch points give way to other users (or the faster runner) and turn your back to limit airborne transmission.
- Limit touching of gates, styles, forest furniture etc. as you run. Where you need to open gates etc. please use hand sanitiser before and after. Use a cuff from your top or a buff to reduce the likelihood of transmitting Covid through touch. Follow the countryside code though and leave all gates as you find them and close anything you open.
- Weather permitting these will be outdoors – no real change! (except for the toilets).
- If you do not wish to stop at an aid station ensure the timekeeper has marked you down and continue running.
- There will be limits on the numbers of people allowed in to an aid station and social distancing MUST happen.
- Were possible there will be separate ways in and out, please pay attention.
- We will not able to supply the smorgasbord of goodies we are known for and love to supply. The ultra-buffet is a long way from returning. To reduce a contact point we will be supplying mostly pre-packaged foods for you to pick up. We will confirm in the week before the event what this will be.
- There will be water, SIS electrolyte and coke at all aid stations. To remove a contact point this will be poured by a volunteer in to your cup, bladder etc. The volunteer must not touch your cup and you must not touch the pouring jug. This may end in spills but will mean 100 people don’t all touch the same handle.
- High fives and sweaty hugs from us and our volunteers are out (unless they’re your actual family)
- The medals and goodies will be on a table for you to pick up. We wish we could place each medal round your neck but we can’t. Please move away from the immediate finish area as soon as you can. Generally our HQ’s are in rather open spots so you can easily wander away without having to get in your car immediately.
- Results will take a little longer for us to populate due to the rolling start, we’ll endeavour to get these online ASAP though.
These are not necessarily the complete set of rules and adjustments, potentially there may be amendments closer to the event as well. Ultimately we’ll be asking you to socially distance wherever possible and reduce touch points to a minimum. We take take this very seriously both personally and professionally. As distance runners most of us think we are somewhat invincible, and if you’ve run an ultra who knows what disease lurks in the bowl of jelly babies after a few hours! but this is different. It is clear that COVID isn’t particularly fussed by your parkrun PB and could wipe you out for 6 weeks or much much worse. We have a responsibility to you as runners, the communities we are based around and the wider running community to put on Covid-secure events and there will be sacrifices from all parties to ensure this happens.
The roadmap out of lockdown has been released by the government and there is light at the end of the tunnel! Without wishing to be a complete downer on the situation thought we aren’t out of the “cancellation woods” yet. I am still waiting to see what UK Athletics has agreed with Department for Culture, Media and Sport with regards a return to events. Although I don’t permit my events through UKA or the TRA anymore it would be irresponsible (and potentially illegal) to put events on that contradict their agreement. Grassroots sports is allowed to return form March 28th with agreement from the National Governing Body. Hopefully they’ll get the message out to us all soon and I can be more confident events will happen and I’ll know what restrictions will be in place.
On a similar note just because government and UKA say events can happen doesn’t mean they will! The final piece of the puzzle is landowner permission. I’m in conversation with all of the landowners of upcoming events to ensure they haven’t local restrictions on events. More specifically Forestry England, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire County Councils will all have their own plans for events. I need to work within these plans.
So in summary, summer and autumn look nailed on to be back to events without issue but I’m optimistically cautious when it comes to spring. I’ll obviously fight for events to be on but these are relationships I want to keep and build on for many years so throwing a hissy fit if they say no won’t get any of us very far!! As always I’ll try and keep everyone updated as we move through and any cancellations will be able to to transfer to an event without an issue.
It’s a better message though!
So if you’re looking to come along for your first 10K, aiming for a marathon or looking to see how far you can go in 6 hours then sign up to this event!
Specially crafted liquid and solid goodies! Details will be dependent on each event, but in the past we have had beer, cider, flapjack and apple juice
The great feeling of being part of a different event!
A fully stocked aid station on each lap. Think kids picnic rather than water station!
Sywell Country Park, Washbrook Ln, Ecton, Northampton NN6 0QX
How To Get There
Sywell Country Park (NN6 0QX) is on the ouskirts of Northampton and 13 minutes from Junction 15 of the M1 and Junction 8 of the A14.
The closest train stations are Northampton and Wellingborough.
Parking costs up to £5.20 depending on how long you stay. That said, be a hero and car share, save money and the World!
Sywell Country Park is a great venue with good ground underfoot all the way round the reservoir. The overall elevation is only around 150ft with a good chunk of that the climb up the damn wall at the start of each lap! The rest of the lap is gently rolling places. The time of year means the woodland sections might be “grubby” underfoot but road or light trail shoes would suffice. there are areas with relatively new stone pathways that may be uncomfortable with minimal shoes.
Race Day Details
Unless stated on the event page the race day will be as follows:
Race Registration opens at 08:15
Race Briefing at 08:50
Race start at 09:00
Last runner leaves HQ at 14:59:59
Race finishes at 15:00
Race team put their feet up at home and have a beer 19:00
This event is cupless; there are several ways that you can get water/liquid in a 'cupless' race:
1. Carry a bottle with you (or hydration pack) Simply run and carry your bottle with you, we'll have water dispensers at the checkpoint allowing you to fill up when you need to.
2. The 'Bottle Table' Given the lapped nature of our events it is an easy fix for us to have a 'bottle table' for you to leave your bottles to pick up as you complete each lap. Labelling your bottle with your name would be a good idea as lots of people have similar (if not identical!) bottles. Once you've drunk all the drink you brought with you, you can have your bottle refilled from our water/squash/electrolytes.
3. Speed cups/ foldable cups Carry a speed cup or foldable plastic bottle with you to fill up at the aid station. Unlike a rigid plastic bottle it will fold up in your pocket when you are finished. And with a speed cup you can easily go between water and sports drinks.
These options may prevent you from getting a 2 hour marathon but will help you do a tiny bit to prevent unnecessary plastic wastage.
What is a challenge event?
The challenge will start at 09:00 and your last lap needs to be started at 14:59:59 at the latest. This means you could do 1 lap and be done by 09:15 or you could try and do 15+ laps and run 40+ miles! It's completely up to you. You might just want to run for 3 hours, whatever you want to do is your decision. Only complete laps will count towards your official time/distance, no half laps. Once you're out of the race you're out of the race, you can't run one lap, go home have a cup of tea and then come back and run some more! Once you have the medal around your neck you are signed out and finished. Check the individual event pages to see how many laps are needed to complete half, full and ultra marathon distances. We will usually add a “mini-lap” to help people complete marathon distance if needs be.
Do I need to be really fit?
The idea behind Big Bear Events is to hold races for everyone to take part in. As long as you can put one foot in front of the other you should be fine! You can walk, jog, run or sprint the route. For our Challenge events you can do as much or as little in the 6 hours as long as you complete 1 lap. If you fancy doing an ultra distance run you don't necessarily need to have run a race before - but it might be wise! You need to be fit enough to run the distances you want to run. Our 10K events have very generous cut offs and will be highlighted on the event page.
Can I transfer my entry or get a refund?
Please see our refund policy
Are there awards for the winners?
No, not really! Our events are for everyone to enjoy, if you run a marathon distance in 2:10 but someone completes 1 more lap in 6 hours who is the winner? If you complete your first ever half marathon at the age of 60 are you not a winner too? With these events potentially there could be 5 or 10 people who feel like winners (fastest marathon, fastest lap, fastest half marathon, longest distance etc.) and as such it would somewhat spoil the occasion. Officially the 'winner' is the person who covers the most distance on the day but everyone has different goals - achieve that and you're a winner in our eyes! We may get awards prepared for our series events though to reward those that have run across all of the events in a series.
Can Nordic Walkers enter the events?
Most definitely! All of our events are suitable for Nordic walkers, all we ask is that you start at the back and make space for faster entrants. Essentially the same as we'd ask of any slower movers to be honest. With a huge range in abilities and people running different distances at our challenge events we expect the field to spread out pretty quickly so it shouldn't impact you as a walker or other competitors after the first 30 seconds. You don't need to tell us beforehand and there is no special walkers entry, just sign up with everyone else!
Can I race with my dog?
No. Our events are not set up for dogs. We believe that canicross events should have extra levels of caution around dog welfare that we do not have at our events. Please do not turn up expecting to run with your dog as you will not be allowed to do so.
Are there toilets or will we need to go like a bear in the woods?
We will have toilets! Depressingly it’s one of the first things we look for when picking a venue! We try to make the race HQ/ lap end as close to the toilets as possible so you aren’t running to many extra meters to use the facilities. That isn’t always possible however but we do try. You are of course allowed to use the toilets as and when you need them.
Can I run with headphones?
If you want to, yes. As a traffic-free event you can run with headphones. We would say however that you must be aware of your surroundings. There might be no cars but there could be horses, small children, bikes, dogs and of course small children on bikes being pulled by dogs! You’re out in the countryside, enjoy the relative quiet but if you prefer headphones that is not an issue either.
Do the challenge events count towards the 100 Marathon Club?
The short answer is yes. The races meet all of the criteria. All of our events will be listed on the 100 marathon club website too.
Do I have to raise money for charity?
No not at all. If you'd like to then that's brilliant but all of our events are about running for the joy or running first and foremost. We pay to be at our venues, so we are putting a small amount towards the beautiful parks and woodlands we run in. Where there is car parking this money directly goes to the park too, so you’ve done your bit too!
You know some of your events are during the week and not in school holidays?
Yes! We appreciate this is different to the standard Saturday/Sunday morning run slot. That is sort of the point! Not everyone works 9-5 Monday to Friday, people work shifts, flexi-time etc. or can take a day of holiday for the event. If that doesn't work for you, then most of our events won't work for you at present. As the company grows and our race calendar grows then maybe we'll entertain weekend events. However, the venues we use are considerably busier at the weekend, this could result in many issues for our events. It's not quite as simple as it may seem!
Will there be medical cover?
We pay for outside medical cover at all of our events, supplied by Events Medical based in Coventry. They have done at least 10 events with us and are yet to get out of their 4x4! However they have a defibrillator with them and are trained medics. In addition there will be people present with emergency first aid training. Don't be a fool - do not push yourself beyond your limits! Of course trips and falls will happen, especially with our off-road courses, but please try to be safe. If you are feeling unwell or you do injure yourself, end your race and have a sit down. It's not worth it, there is always another race day. We ask all of our runners to let us know if there is any medical information we need to be aware of (asthma, diabetes etc.) to enable us to try to keep everyone safe. As in any trail race often the first person to an injured/unwell runner is another runner and so we ask everyone to be good Samaritans in this regard.
Will I get lost?
We would hope not! The courses will be fully signposted with a few volunteers out on course at periods through the events.
Do I need a map?
No. The courses are contained within country parks or forests, marked and on clear footpaths. We do supply a gpx file with the route on though if you’d like to carry it with you. That said, these may be out of date come race day if there have been last minute changes to the route. For the Warwiskhire Bear Ultra it is strongly advised you have a print out of the route or even better the .gpx of the route on your phone. Needless to say this one event isn’t self contained in 1 park or forest.
Is there mandatory kit?
Generally not. The exception being a head torch at our head torch runs and the listed mandatory kit for the Warwickshire Bear Ultra. Although you could be doing ultra marathon distances, with the lapped nature of the course and being signposted there is no mandatory kit. All we request is that you dress for the weather. If it's cold, add a layer, if it's hot be sensible. It's up to you to dress accordingly. In terms of footwear, look at the pictures on the event pages. We also post updates online as to ground conditions when we are marking the course the day before for last minute decisions.
How are the events timed?
We invested chip timing so our events will be chip timed from now on. It’s very simple but you must return your chips at the end of the event. They look inexpensive and 1 lost chip isn’t breaking the bank but loosing handfuls each year will have a tangible impact. You will likely be given clear instructions as to where to wear your chip – please listen or your chip is unlikely to get read and thus you will not get a time! We do use your “gun time” however, but given the size of the events the difference between crossing the line first or last is normally less than 10s (or an extra jaffa cake if you think of it like that!)
Is there somewhere secure for me to leave my bag?
The short answer is no. We will have a small area under the gazebo where the aid station is where you can leave a bag but it is not "secure" so it is left at your own risk entirely. Big Bear Events does not accept responsibility for any items that go missing or are broken. We have a small tent that we use to try to protect bags from the elements but it isn’t magic! We would suggest that as the car parks and HQ are never more than a few hundred meters away to keep a change of clothes and a chocolate bar for after in the car, not in a bag!
Is there somewhere I can leave my own food or drink?
Yes at our Challenge events. We will tell you which table has been designated for competitor’s own food. If you ask though we will do our best to get you anything you’d like for the aid station. We don’t police this table either – if you leave a big box of beautiful brownies out we can’t be held responsible if a hungry runner nibbles at them!
Terms and conditions
The terms and conditions of all of our events are the same, unless explicitly stated on the event page.
Is there a big book of rules?
As our events are not UKA permitted events there isn’t. Ultimately the decision of the Race Director is final, we would hope people can run, follow a route and be respectful to those around them. If you can do that we shouldn’t have many issues.
How old do I have to be to run in your events?
The below age restrictions are imposed by UKA. We however are not permitted through UKA and as such may make slight exceptions with parental consent. This will be very much at our discretion however.
Under 12 years 3,000 metres Under 14 years 5,000 metres Under 16 years 6,000 metres Under 17 years 10,000 metres Under 18 years 25,000 metres Under 20 years 45,000 metres
Given that our challenge events are timed events entrants young enough to be effected by these rules will be stopped at the appropriate distance.
If your question hasn't been answered of you are still unsure of anything please contact us at [email protected] where we'll do our best to help.
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