Wadsworth Trog 7 February ‘15
20m with 1220m/4003ft climb
The first proper long race of the 2015 calendar drew a good field, including several Rossendale Harriers. The race has a reputation of being a bit tough. Mainly due to the time of year, I suppose. Conditions on the day however seemed pretty good to me. The recent heavy snow had started to clear but with still enough ice about to keep the infamous bogs, well some of them at least, at bay.
The course changed slightly this year to avoid some sensitive land issues with Natural England. Most of the original navigation section, across large sections of pathless moor, was to be avoided. This was a shame because that was a big part of the character of the Trog. This has been replaced with, what I have to admit, is a nicer route and nicer to run on, but is fell running supposed to be nice? Either way, it’s still a cracking route and one of my favourite races.
156 runners assembled at the new start (you don’t have to do that silly loop through the woods now). The fast Calder lads Grey, Logue and Crossfield set their stall out early doors. Flying up the lane towards Wadsworth Moor. I managed to join a pack of half a dozen runners or so runners behind the front three.
Following the man made drain to CP 3, I shouted out my number and did the usual “Thank yous”. I was determined to stick with the pack, so cracked on, but was distracted by the marshals’ repeatedly shouting something. I turned round to see the numpty behind me had headphones in. Totally oblivious he was. So I stopped and shouted at him whilst pointing back at the marshals. They must have missed his number. Now I’m not 100% on the FRA ruling on this, but for a start he is obviously making the marshal’s life more difficult than it needs to be. Not only that but It got me thinking as my stride tried to find the more solid bits of ice. He is really putting his own safety and others at risk. Say the clag was down and a runner became stranded. He isn’t going to hear them blowing their whistle while he listens to Taylor Swift or whatever other shite he’s got in his ears. Safety aside, why would you want to? Is fell running not about taking in the surroundings? This definitley includes sound. The crunch of the snow under foot must be up there with the best of them.
By the time I reached Top o Stairs I was still hanging on to Ian Symington (Calder Valley). Which was a good thing, I thought. As a new bit of the course is coming up. It’ll be interesting to see which way he goes. I’d recce’d it twice over Christmas, but still not being hundred per cent sure, I’d planned to aim off, slightly up stream of checkpoint 6. Then I couldn’t miss it by following the stream down. To our surprise this section was fully flagged and went nowhere near the checkpoint that we had been given. Glad I recce’d it twice then eh.
From Withins the pack begun to get away from me. I managed to pick off one runner but ran the majority of the remainder of the race without seeing a soul, apart from the hardy Marshall’s at checkpoints and Mr & Mrs of Yorkshire fell running – Dave and Eileen Woodhead.
After a quick chat and drink at the finish. I remembered that there is the rare luxury of showers available for finishers. They spoil fell runners rotten in Calder Valley you know. It’s no wonder they attract runners from further afield to their flock. After nearly Three hours out on the wintery Pennine hills, that warm shower I had at the cricket club was the best shower I’ve had so far this year. You wouldn’t believe me if you saw them but it was superb at the time, trust me.
Race report by Patrick Brennan