THE promise of wet weather, thunder and lightning didn’t put off more than 400 runners who took part in the Kirste Memorial races.
The event, now in its third year, was set up by Benfleet Running Club in memory of their former member Kirste Bowman, who passed away in 2012 after a seven-year battle with breast cancer.
Kirste raised more than £50,000 for breast cancer charities through her running and the race was created to continue that work.
The main five-mile race attracted more than 300 runners while nearly 100 juniors took part in the one-mile fun run.
As in the previous two editions, runners used the opportunity to celebrate Kirste and breast cancer charities, with many running in fancy dress.
The five-mile race, which was made even more challenging by the wet conditions, was won by Clapham Chasers’ James Ellis in a time of 31m 21s, 10 seconds ahead of Havering’s Ian Anthony with Southend AC’s Ty Farrer in third in 32m 27s.
Benfleet RC teenager Eddy Cooper was the first under-18 athlete to finish in 32m 36s, followed by Dean Ovel (Leigh on Sea Striders, 33m 12s), Paul Green (Thurrock Harriers, 33m 34s), Christian Gray (Basildon AC, 34m 20s), Keith Willett (Thurrock Harriers, 35m 34s), Matthew Campbell (Flyers 36m 16s) and Jason Syrett (36m 19s) rounding off the top 10.
Tracy English, of Leigh-on-Sea Striders, was the first lady home in 36m 42s, and part of the 10-strong runners who won the team prize. Southend AC pair Sarah Jeffery (38m 42s) and Anne Jenkinson (39m 24s) were second and third.
Thirty-five walkers also completed the five-mile course ahead of the main race.
Earlier, the one-mile family run was won by Luke Gill (East Essex Triathlon Club), in a time of 6m 56s, with second place going to Benfleet’s Sinead Clark (7m 04s) who took the first girl trophy.
The start of the family one-mile fun run
More than 200 pink and green balloons were released at the end of the race with whoever’s balloon travelled furthest winning a prize.
England’s Commonwealth Games hurdler Hayley McLean was a special guest, handing out medals, while the race was started by the chairman of Rochford Council June Lumely.
All money rasied from the event will be split between Macmillan Cancer Support and Bosom Pals, adding to the £15,000 raised for the two charities already from the previous two editions of the race.