THE start of the cross-country running season saw a strong performance by Dudley Kingswinford (DK) Running Club at Coundon Hall Park, Coventry, on Saturday.

The hoops fielded several men’s and women’s teams with all club members running well in difficult wet, muddy and cold conditions.

Paula Alder, Helen Bingham, Claire Hancox, Kelly Idoine and Hannah Pearce made their DK cross country debuts. The fastest DK woman to finish, in a time of 31 minutes 42 seconds, was Helen Tromans. Jane Campbell, Jacqui Elson-Whittaker, Lucy Elwell, Vanessa Harris, Samantha Hemming and Lyn Willetts Sprague completed the DK line-up for the women.

It was a similarly impressive display by the men in Coventry with Gary Davies first back for DK followed by Jonathan Pearce, Mark Gatenby, Sergei Ljubownikow, Richard Tonks, Dave Hickman, Ray Selwood, Richard Jones, Dirk Baynham and Matt Queen.

Further afield, Ingrid Cain and Paula Pallant ran the Elan Valley 10 mile race in mid Wales, organised by Rhayader running club, along with non-DK member but marathon training buddy Abi Thomas. The race had several steep climbs.

Ingrid said: “We couldn’t catch our breath running up the hills but the views, waterfalls and autumn colours were a welcome distraction.”

One week earlier, on 2nd November, DK member Samantha Hemming completed a remarkable feat of running two marathons in a day.

Organised by How Hard Can It Be Events, Samantha first ran the Pumpkin Marathon in the morning. She then had just one hour to refuel with food and drink and get changed before starting off again in the Spooky Marathon. Both marathons were held on the same, mostly off-road, 32 lap course in Lightmoor, Telford.

Samantha said:

“It was a hard course with two hills on each lap and many pot-holes. It became even more difficult running in the dark but this just added to the challenge.

“I love Halloween and have always wanted to do both races so, rather than decide between them, thought I’d challenge myself and have a go at both.”