It was a quiet start to the month with little on the calendar for athletes from Dudley Kingswinford Running Club to get involved in, many decided to keep their powder dry in anticipation of the cross country season, but there were still opportunities to race if people looked hard enough with Simon Blizzard looking north towards Yorkshire to take part in the Leeds Abbey Dash, a 10k race on a fast, flat course hailed as one of the best races in the country. And it certainly proved popular with international athletes, Olympians, good standard club runners and a member of the band, Kaiser Chiefs, joining over 10,000 competitors on the start line. Despite wet conditions Blizzard recorded a time of 39.05 over the 6.2 mile course to finish in 510th position.
The following week saw the return to cross country action as both the men and ladies travelled to Leamington Spa to start their league campaigns for the men it would be a challenging season, after gaining promotion as Division 3 champions they had lost three of their major players of last season and a fourth of their big scorers was taking time off to recover from injury. It was left to last season’s B team to step up and perform in the rarefied altitude of Division 2. Richard Bate was first home for the A team in 83rd place in 43.06, Dave Norman was 113th in 44.19, Darran Bishop was 123rd in 44.41, Rob Sannwald was 131st in 45.00, Simon Hughes was 136th in 45.28 and Daren Thompson completed the scorers in 137th in 45.32. Simon Blizzard led the B team home in 142nd in 45.38, Andy Sprague was 150th in 45.53, Mark Homer was 154th in 46.02, Steve Wood was 170th in 47.08, Mark Judge was 187th in 48.24, Richard Jones completed the B team in 215th place in 51.12 just holding off Sergej Ljubovnikov in 217th in 51.16. Andy Weaver came home in 52.59 for 238th place and John Andrews was 269th in 59.26.
The ladies were also competing in Division 2 of their respective league with Helen Tromans finishing in an impressive 32nd place in 27.48, Karen Doy was 83rd in 31.34 taking a one – nil lead from her rival Lyn Sprague who came home in 98th in 32.38, Jacqui Elson-Whittaker was 125th in 34.44, Deborah Smith finished in 36.01 in 137th place, Lisa Hadlington was 164th in 38.15, Cilla Harding was 179th in 40.36 and Sarah Krivosic was 203rd in 42.27.
Seven days on and the cross country season with the Midlands 7 in Nottingham, the equivalent of a cup game for the blue hoops and the chance to race with none of the added pressure of a league race. Stuart Perkins was first back for DK, having been unavailable for the first league fixture he made amends with a strong performance to finish in 46th place in 45.22, Dave Norman chased him round to claim 52nd place in 46.11, Simon Blizzard came home in 47.46 in 63rd, a place ahead of Mark Homer who finished in 47.59, Steve Parr finished with a fine flourish to take 106th place in 53.26 and Andrew Weaver finished in 53.34 to take 108th place and complete the A team scorers. Richard Jones came home in 54.39 in 115th but Kevin Duckworth was unable to complete having been struck down with a recurrence of a hamstring problem. The performance by the team was enough to place the club in 8th place on the day, a respectable finish around midway but some distance behind the winners, Tipton Harriers, who dominated the even with their 6 counters coming home inside the top 15 place. Twenty fours hours later John Andrews took part in the Beckbury Trail race, a 5.6 mile event over trails and paths through the autumn countryside. As the sole representative Andrews was first home in 52.05 to take 81st place. A small group travelled the short distance to Wyre Forest to take part in the Dirt Run 10k, a muddy run on fire tracks and woodland paths from the visitors centre at Callow Hill. Pete Krivosic was 75th in 1.04.19, Jan Burbie came home in 1.10.43 in 98th place and Sarah Krivosic was 127th in 1.20.04. And at a frosty Sutton Park Liz Hettle was 132nd in a time of 57.08, Alison Whitehouse was 169th in 59.21 and Keith Whitehouse and Gina Collins kept each other company finishing in 1.01.42 and 1.01.43 respectively to take 204th and 205th places in the Mo Run 10k.
The month closed with huge numbers travelling the short distance to Baggeridge Country Park for the Suicide 6. Stuart Perkins was first home for the blue hoops in 40.43 taking 10th place, Dave Norman finished in 23rd in 42.57 chased over the line by Simon Hughes in 25th in 43.07, Gary Bonner was 29th in 43.34, Mick Quane was 47th in 44.28, Mark Homer was 53rd in 45.01, Stephen Parr was 86th in 47.24, Sergej Lyubovnikov was 96th in 48.22 and Darren Marklew finished in 102nd in 48.41. Andy Weaver came home in 49.47, Richard Tonks in 50.10, Rory Campbell in 51.26, John Sixsmith in 51.34, John Andrews in 53.06, Andy Morrison in 53.20, Karen Doy in 57.10, Malcolm Beddall in 1.00.57, Jane Campbell in 1.01.47, Lisa Kendrick in 1.02.25, Jan Burbie in 1.06.49, Tony Noke in 1.06.51, Amanda Hunt, Tracy Jones and Gina Collins all finished together in 1.10.28, Preston Grundy crossed the line in 1.12.34 and Chris Wood finished in 1.12.40.