> 2009 race reports
07/02/09 Wadsworth Trog - from John Telfer

20 miles 4,000 ft

Despite the race being in doubt up until the day before, Saturday morning in the arctic tundra-like moors of the South Pennines in West Yorkshire dawned bright and sunny but phenomenally cold. None of which deterred a near record turnout for this Calder Valley FR inspired early season run around some of the bleakest yet simultaneously beautiful moorland expanse above Hebden Bridge.

I was joined on the start line by Derby based NFR Jerry Sharp who along with 99% of the field were attired in full length leggings, multi layers (I went for 4), hats and gloves. For once the issue about carrying full body cover wasn’t needed as most of us were already clad in it in order to stave off third degree hypothermia and that was just in the changing rooms.

After an initial short downhill on road and back up through the fields of Old Town it was out into the deep snow and on to the wide expanse of moors taking in a succession of ups and downs, all pretty runnable, if you are that good. The route takes you past a couple of reservoirs, remote farms and as local folklore would have it the ruins of an old house at Withins which was Emily Bronte’s inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Today there was no sign of Kathy or Heathcliff unless they were the heavily clad marshals at CP 6. I was too busy scoffing the jelly babies left out for tiring runners to take much notice.

For once, route finding posed no problem as you just followed the well beaten path in the snow, nevertheless, on the more exposed parts it was shin deep in parts with drifts to the side of up to 4 foot.

The men’s race was won by Bingley’s Rob Jebb in 3h.13m, some 35 minutes slower than the winner of last year's race, with Peebles based Hunters Bog Trotter, Kate Jenkins putting her ultra running credentials (i.e. stamina) to good use to take the honours for the ladies finishing 18th overall.

Personally I was just glad to having got round having really struggled in parts (usually at locations which gave no option of a cushy bail out and a quick lift back for tea and cake) and ended nearly 25 minutes slower than last year. Personally, I blamed it on the beer the night before although I am not sure if it was because I drank too much or not enough.

All credit to Ben and Thirza and all their helpers, especially the marshals for putting on such a big race in such challenging conditions. The results and link to some photos (alas bereft of NFR runners) can be found here

John Telfer

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