Chris Burgoyne, of Springfield Striders, took the honours in the Benfleet 15 by the narrow margin of three seconds as 825 finishers enjoyed perfect race day conditions on Sunday morning (20 January).
Our picture of the start shows the fantastic winter sunshine enjoyed by the record number of competitors. However, despite appearances, it was a mere 4C and there was a breeze on the Hadleigh Downs to add a chill factor.
There were many post race compliments posted online by runners but this heartfelt message from Benfleet Running Club's co-chair, Graham Douglass captures the spirit of the day: “I've tried holding back on an emotional outburst, but I still have the vision of streams of athletes stretching out as far as the eye can see from the Benfleet end of Hadleigh Country Park through to Leigh Station in my mind and I cannot help myself!
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for again surpassing all expectations by selling out our little race faster than ever before, in numbers larger than ever before but still with the same smiles on your faces, despite all that we throw at you! Anyone would think the weather we ordered in for you this year had made a difference”!
The men's race went to the wire with Springfield team mates Chris Burgoyne and Alex Manton separated by just three ticks of the clock at Hadleigh Country Park following a scenic tour of Hadleigh Downs, Belton Hill Nature Reserve and Canvey Island sea wall. The winning time was 1:30:50 and six-times former champion Crispian Bloomfield (Billericay, 1:33:05) was third.
The top three women were among 130 athletes inside two hours for this challenging course. Charlie Nurse (Wigston Phoenix, 1:49:41), Kathleen Short (Brentwood, 1:51:49) and Debbie Jackson (Collingwood, 1:53:03) led the way for the ladies.
Runners helped to raise more than £300 for this year's nominated charity Basildon Sports Club for the Disabled and organisers are promising 'something special' for next year's 30th anniversary event. Race organisation was by Benfleet Running Club
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