> 2011 race reports
15/02/11 Wadsworth Trog - from John Telfer

WADSWORTH TROG – 20 miles, 4,000 feet of ascent
February 12, 2011

photo courtesy of Geoff Matthews

Opting for my annual 500 mile round trip to Hebden Bridge rather than the 30 mile round trip to Carnethy brought its usual share of delights and horrors.

This was my fifth trip to the Trog but only the fourth time of running following the late call off in 2007 when the weather turned rather nasty on the Friday evening. Leaving nothing to chance I set up base camp in the Fox & Goose on Thursday evening and after a near vertical yomp out of HB achieved full acclimatization in The Hare and Hounds later that night, courtesy of Geoff Matthews [http://www.geoffmatthewsphotography.co.uk] and friends.

After a very much more restrained Friday evening in the watering holes of HB my pre-race preparation was rudely awakened (and I mean awakened) by a text at 4.30am from John Duff extolling the virtues of some New Zealand ales. Honestly, do some people never think about anything else except beer???

The day dawned damp and dank and so it looked as we were in for a repetition of the Trog in the clag, which did for so many in 2010. However, about 20 minutes before the off it totally cleared and the whole race was run in perfect visibility with the sun even making a few token appearances.

The field of 140 was sent on their way just after 10am for the cavalry charge down the road before encountering the first of the days’ swamps. For those real fellruners the course is almost entirely runnable although for those of us who like to study uphill gradients in more detail a walking gait had to be adopted for the four steepest uphill pulls.

Apart from the very odd little section on road and farm track the going underfoot, for the most part, was unremittingly wet. This ranged from puddles on tracks to “up to your knees” peat bog, interspersed with thick grass tussocks and shin whipping heather. The one section on the flagstones of the Pennine Way provided little relief as they had all been specially greased for the day. After this little escapade the Borderer and Allendale should hold no fear as my feet have now developed web like characteristics.

My recollection from previous years that up until the last few miles I had always been running in company but from about mile 7 there were times when there was nobody in sight in front or behind. At times like these you start thinking you are actually lost when logic tells you all is well.

Therefore, after one such “dark moment” it was almost reassuring to be overtaken by a lady who had obviously decided to make her move around mile 10. After she had sailed by I didn’t see another soul for half an hour until Geoff was stationed at checkpoint 10 to capture a study in weariness who sincerely wished he was nearer than 6 miles from the finish!

Then with 4 miles to go just as quickly as people had previously disappeared from view they began to appear again in front and behind and so I took on the dual role of the hunter and the hunted as we tramped back to the finish.

Sadly, unlike last year when I made up around 20 places by miraculously navigating through the mist the clear vistas meant everybody kept on track although I did manage to claim about 5 places in the last 4 miles.

I finished in just over four and a quarter hours, some three minutes down on last years time, which I put down to old age and ale quaffing texters at 4.30am. However, more interestingly, last year I managed 52nd out of nearly 120 this year my broadly comparable time could only buy me 89th out of 140 runners. Obviously a hugely improved quality field this year!!!

Apart from the stunning countryside this is a superbly organized and friendly event with many a word of encouragement to be heard along the way. And it is not just the runners who put in a fair dash of speed. I saw my friend Geoff no fewer than on six times during the race and no doubt he did make use of a car on one or two occasions that was still no mean feat.

So, somewhat reluctantly I took my leave of the post race hustle and bustle to start my journey North casting a glimpse over the next valley to the magnificent folly that stands majestically on top of Stoodley Pike. However, in just under a month’s time I’ll be getting up close and personal with it 20 miles into the Haworth Hobble.

And just before I revved up the engine to get on my way I thought that as it was around 4.30am in New Zealand someone might be very interested in receiving a text about today’s race !!!!

Results will appear here http://www.cvfr.co.uk/

John Telfer

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