The Wadsworth Trog is a 19-mile category BL (hilly and long) fell race over Wadsworth Moor near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. It is known for its energy-sapping boggy and muddy terrain. The only thing sapping my energy on this occasion was the snow covering the frozen ground, with the occasional surprise foot-in-bog.
Most people start the year with the intentions of making a fresh start. Upon reflection 2018 was the most successful running year ever, over 2280km (+62000m elevation) compared to 2017’s 1466km (+29000m elevation). For some reason, rather than feeling ultra-pumped for another year of mileage I found coming into 2019 a rather daunting affair. So much so that I pretty much relapsed from the off with plenty of high mileage in terms of drinking and eating but very low running mileage and very little interest in going outside.
I guess it’s hard to explain but this lack of belief and diluted fitness turned into quite lacklustre performances in both PECO cross country races I took part in, followed by a slightly disappointing Stanbury Splash, a race I had been looking forward to for two years. I guess it’s easy to blame the cold spell, the weather or whatever, but in any other race I would have embraced everything that was put in front of me, I just wasn’t really enjoying my running.
This may come to a shock to a few people as on the surface I’m generally a positive and sociable chap who generally won’t shut up.
Looking back, if January was there to serve one purpose that would have been to be to set the bar low, the absolute lowest. I was determined to take it as the stand-out worst month of the coming year, I couldn’t let it get worse than that.
Being invited to take part in the Wadsworth Trog after being on the waiting list was a huge relief for me. Judging by the popularity of that weekend’s three local sold-out races (the other two were Rombald Stride and Mickleden Straddle) I’m guessing this “get the hell out of January with a tough race” attitude is the same for many other people.
So here we are, on the second day of February. On Friday night I’m packed up and tucked away ready for an early drive over to the Happy Valley. Punxsutawney Phil must have predicted an early spring, the weather is absolutely amazing. Despite being around freezing I can feel the heat of the sun through the car window and the sky is blue and almost cloudless.
So we’re two happy campers driving over for the 10:30am start, except, well it’s a 10am start and the runners are lined up and ready to go as my co-pilot Jonathan of Kirkstall Harriers and I are waltzing into the cricket club getting our kit out for inspection and registration. Note: I swear I checked the website and saw 10am the previous evening, but considering I was the only one, that may have not happened! Not only that but I soon discover I am lacking a pair of waterproof trousers. That’s my first ever kit check fail. (To be clear as soon as I found out that I was missing kit I knew I wasn’t racing, no arguing: Dom can you have a look in the back of your car please?)
Jonathan is all ready to go and runs over to the start as the runners are setting off whilst I’ve pretty much given up the idea of racing and I’m thinking now I have time to go to the toilet and will go for a little jaunt. On my way back from the toilet the race director hands me a race number saying that one of the tail runners has a spare pair on him. How awesome is that?