THE Benfleet Running Club men’s team fought off stiff competition to take the team title at the popular Hadleigh Legacy 10k.

A staggering 337 keen runners tackled the course, and Chris Hatton performed superbly to cross the finishing line in less than 40 minutes to claim top spot.

Terence Spooner and Tim Tomlins were Benfleet’s best performers as they finished eighth and 12th respectively.

Jack Hodges battled hard on the iconic mountain bike circuit that was used at London 2012 to secure the last team place in 17th and ensure Benfleet took the men’s team title.

Although just outside the points positions, new Benfleet member Lee Gumbrell showed promise as he came 35th.

Team mates Barry Key and Mike Grout were just two minutes behind to finish 48th and 52nd respectively, while Stephen Burton took 57th.

Benfleet’s first lady to complete the course, in its fifth year, was Jayne Stacey with a time of 54 minutes to take 75th.

Sub one hour runs were also completed by Mark Cowan, Graham Douglass and Stewart Morley.

Kevin Judge and Sarah Norton came in just past the hour mark, while Isla Sinclair, Sarah Grabowski and Catherine Hughes were the last of Benfleet’s runners to cross the line on a momentous day for the running club.

Meanwhile, Leigh Striders’ Matibini Matibini impressed and was only three minutes off frontrunner Hatton to finish third.

Striders runner Andrea Hughes finished 16th to become the second lady to successfully take on the course.

Richard Mangham finished in 18th and went home with a trophy after becoming the first vet to cross the line.

Niki Read broke into the top 100 with a 97th place finish, while Debra Mangham, Roxanne George, Catherine Patterson, Rhoda Lester and Fay Armstrong completed the strong Striders contingent.

Castle Point Joggers members were also out in force at Hadleigh Country Park.

Adam Poulton, in the male vet 50 category, completed the 10k in just shy of 50 minutes to come 25th.

Team mates Ray Selwyn and Ben Avery were not far behind as they notched 27th and 28th place finishes respectively.

Martin England, Mike Hopkins, Mark Colquhoun, Matt Debenham and Mark Whitney also fought hard to complete the challenging course inside an hour.

Gareth Smith crossed the line on the hour mark, while Nigel Thorne, Ransom Philip, Tracey Bradley, Luke Bonham, Tony Selwyn and Nick McCullagh battled hard and were the final Castle Point Joggers members to successfully complete the 10k.