Benfleet 15 Race Result – Sunday 21st January

22 January 2018 - By Scott Darney

17 Witham Runners braved the elements to tackle rain, sleet and snow in the annual Benfleet 15. Conditions were predictably bleak with wet grounding and a cold chill in the air which called for a layer or two more than usual even for the most hardened of winter runners.

The mostly off-road course starts and finishes at the Hadleigh 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike Course and kindly drops off down the hill for a fast downhill sprint but you are soon climbing, then dropping, then climbing before a short respite on a flat muddy section and then another climb up to Hadleigh Castle, along the ridge and back down to flat ground for a long, flat(ish) stretch from Leigh-On-Sea station to Benfleet station. At Benfleet the route takes you onto Canvey Island along the sea wall for another long stretch before you turn and run back on yourself back to Benfleet station which gave the Witham runners a chance to cheer and encourage each other as they passed.

The last few miles are notoriously difficult having run on soft ground through mud, grass and grit for the majority of the last 12-13 miles and to add to the difficulty it had started to snow for most of the runners by this point and did not stop! Rounding the corner of Benfleet station the route takes you up a short tarmac hill and through a weaving and undulating gravel path before dropping to join part of the start of the course and heading back up to the start/finish. The last mile is 99% ascending which starts as a switchback climb on a gravel path before heading directly up a steep section, onto a short flat (by comparison) and then the final big steep hill that often forces a few swear words out from those who are not expecting it and then levels out for the finish 100 yards from the top of the hill.

James Crisp was the first home for Witham in 18th and a time of 1:43:05, narrowly missing out on a gold medal awarded to the top 15 male and female runners, shortly followed by David Hunt who qualified for a Silver in 39th but due to a medal mixup only received a bronze. Charlotte Elms was the first Witham Lady home, finishing 26th Lady in a time of 2:09:44 and also earning a Silver Medal although I’m not sure if she was also unfortunate to miss out on receiving her silver medal.

Full results:

Position Name Time
18 James Crisp 01:43:05
39 David Hunt 01:47:37
55 Scott Darney 01:50:59
77 Pete Riley 01:53:40
154 Stuart Mills 02:03:16
177 Mark Austin 02:05:53
219 Charlotte Elms 02:09:44
231 Bill Smythe 02:12:03
236 Mark Lynch 02:11:56
238 Tony Wallen 02:13:07
349 Brigid Wallen 02:23:34
559 Ross Silverton 02:57:21
561 Rachel Pearsons 02:57:21
562 Sasha Rush 02:57:22
582 Tracey Denby 03:01:24
583 Emma Sweeney 03:01:25
609 Anthony Smith 03:09:19

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