Wadsworth Trog, February 2024

From behind a window, it appeared to be a day where perfect conditions lay in wait for those hoping to tame a local classic, the Wadsworth Trog, on the first Saturday morning in February. Dry overhead with just the odd patch of rain and conditions topping out at a balmy 8C, what more could you want for a 19.7 mile fell race with elevation just topping 4,000 feet?

But the Trog doesn’t have the moniker of The Beast for nothing, as the 14 Toddies who set off from the start line found out. From the very first slog up from Old Town to High Brown Knoll, runners were greeted with a very unwelcome combination of 20+mph headwinds and boggy conditions underfoot. It was a gust that seemed to be flung into your face all the way round, no matter which direction you were headed on the circular route that takes you from Old Town across to Top Withins, Shackleton Knoll before a return to High Brown Knoll and Sheep Stones, before a last painful climb up back into Old Town. The shoe-sucking bog and mud that accompanied – especially on the grim line that takes you from Warley Moor Reservoir to Cock Hill – just added to the leg-sapping conditions that accounted for the pale faces and many inevitable gurns at the finish line.

Despite the challenges a long fell race in winter inevitably brings, though, the Harriers out on show didn’t let it stop them. Ashley Wright led the charge who, despite being told to wait for three minutes at Top Withins after informing marshalls he had run past the previous unmanned checkpoint, finished in 6th place. (He promised after the race to not be so honest next time, although the fact that at least 2 other Harriers owned up to missing checkpoints probably softened the blow). Jon Wright, marking just his 3rd race in 18 months, finished in 11th and first MV50. Mel Blackhurst and Rebecca Patrick crossed the finish line almost hand-in-hand as the first Tod women back, and they, Ash and myself claimed 2nd team prize for Tod at the finish. 

Tod results:
6th Ashley Wright 2:58
7th Ben Blosse 3:04
11th Jon Wright 3:09
14th Duncan Cannon 3:11
26th Dan Taylor 3:26
41st Duncan Ritchie 3:41
46th Bob Halstead 3:43
50th Mel Blackhurst 3:47
51st Rebecca Patrick 3:47
65th Luke Dyer 3:54
68th Kate Mansell 3:56
71st Daniel Philips 3:57
74th Mathew Gray 4:01
108th Sophie Cunningham 4:30

By Ben Blosse

Helen TippingWadsworth Trog, February 2024