August kicked off with the short journey to Mary Steven’s Park for the Stourbridge Stagger. The 10k race over a difficult, undulating course run on farm tracks, public footpaths and fields is always a good test but the warm conditions and overgrown hedgerows made it a tougher test than in previous years. Despite the added difficulty Helen Tromans claimed victory in the ladies race finishing 24th overall in a personal course record time of 44.34. Stuart Perkins was first of the hoops home in the men’s race bagging 6th place in a time of 39.17, Mark Homer finished in 42.54 in 16th place claiming the 1st MV50 prize, Mick Quane crossed the line in 19th in 44.01, Pete Hood finished in 45.51 in 32nd, Dave Hickman was 55th in 49.55, John Andrews was 67th in 51.47, Jacqui Elson-Whittaker was 92nd in 54.53, Sally McConville was 97th in 56.07, Carol Fisher, returning from injury, claimed 103rd place in 56.24 and Liz Hettle finished in 1.02.04 in 139th place.
On the following morning a trio of blue hoops travelled towards the Peak District to take part in the Leek Half Marathon, a race legendary amongst club members as being one of the hilliest on the calendar and the benchmark by which runners grade the gradient of all other races. Matt Biggs continued his good form finishing in 5th having briefly moved into 2nd place in 1.23.00, Dave Norman claimed 18th place in 1.32.24 and Andy Morrison was 105th in 2.00.54.
It was on to The Dell for the Magic Mile where runners from Sweatshop Running Community and a few invited guests joined an outnumbered DK as the host club with over 130 athletes pinning a number to their vest, many wearing the SRC yellow. DK’s Helen Tromans was the fastest female on the night winning her heat by a considerable distance to clock a time of 6.12. Stuart Perkins was 3rd in the main race of the evening in 5.09 and Dave Norman in 4th bagging the 1st M45 prize in 5.21.
With August being particularly quiet many had to travel to look for race opportunities, Matt Biggs took part in the Maverick 23k trail race near Bridgewater, Somerset. The course, covering around 15 miles including climbs steep enough to reduce even the best in the field to a walk and with over 2500 feet of ascent there were plenty of opportunities for walking. Handily placed in 3rd, a poorly placed sign resulted in the early pacesetters taking a wrong turn and the added detour shuffling the finishing order somewhat. The additional distance put paid to a podium finish but Matt was still able to place highly clocking a time of 2.10.29 to take 6th place. And twenty four hours later a pair of hoops took part in the Severn Bridge Half Marathon, as the title would suggest a half marathon over the Severn Bridge. Dave Hickman was first home for the hoops in 568th place clocking 1.51.57 and Jan Burbie, making her DK debut, finished in 1502nd in a time of 2.19.52. Closer to home Rich Bate came 35th in 38.17 and Helen Tromans was 49th and 3rd lady although originally down in the results as a man finishing in 39.40 in the tough Clent Hills 8k.
The month came to a close with the annual Race The Train event in Wales over a tough 14 mile course with the aim to reach the finish before the steam train arrives back at the station. Dave Norman was suitably “chuffed”, finishing strongly coming home in 1.44.05 to take 85th place but more importantly ahead of the train. Mark Homer, who was flying and on track to beat the train, unfortunately went flying, a nasty fall meant he ran out of steam but still did well in the circumstances to finish in 1.52.03 to take 178th out of a field of 834.