ON a weekend that saw much of the athletics calendar wiped out by the Arctic conditions, organisers worked hard to ensure the gruelling Benfleet 15 went ahead as planned.
And Billericay Striders’ Crispian Bloomfield was glad they did as he claimed his third victory on the trot and sixth overall.
Despite the blizzard-like conditions on Sunday morning, more than 370 hardy souls completed the race that started and finished at Hadleigh Country Park and took runners out along Canvey’s sea wall and back.
“I’d like to thank all of our volunteers and marshals who were setting up from 7.30am for their commitment in staging what was already being described by finishers as the best Benfleet 15 ever,” said race organiser Karl Cadman.
Bloomfield was comfortably the first runner home in 1h 33m 50s with his team-mate Kurtis Swan finishing 10th in 1h 39m 48s.
The first female athlete home was Springfield Striders’ Nikki Brockbank (1h 47m 01s), while Southend AC’s Jo Baker was the third woman to finish in 1h 53m 54s. Baker’s team-mate Anne Jenkinson was fourth woman and first V35 (1h 57m 36s), while Natasha Lagden was ninth woman and third V35.
Together those three Seasiders won the prize for the first women’s team to finish, with excellent team support provided by Kasia Kostybka-Allchorne, Debbielyn Hallam and Julie Perrin.
Three Southend me broke the two-hour barrier – Richard Phillips (71st), James Campion (74th) and Alan Monte (80th) – with Jeff Bolton, Charlie Scott, Neil Hallam and Nic Vincent also compelting the challenging course.
The junior one-mile race was won by Nathan Thornton, while the first girl to cross the line was Jemma Clark.
Fifteen members of Pitsea Running Club braved the race with their first finisher being Mike Woodward in 29th place with 1h 48m 1s.
Other Pitsea finishers were Darren Chaplin (2.11.38), Nigel Pointer (2.31.42), Tim Shea (2.31.42), Lorna Pettifer (2.34.29), John Pettifer (2.34.29), Caroline Weald (2.39.28), Diane Eastland (2.42.43), Theresa Howe (2.43.57), Mel Brady (2.44.22), Andy Chaplin (2.45.50), Linda Matthews (2.48.17), Sharon Eastland (2.58.06), Gill Harrison (3.08.50), Dave Davidson (3.51.18).