AN impressive 140 runners competed in the popular Roach Valley Way Relay and raised more than £1,500 in the process.

The event, which is now into its third year, attracted 35 teams who embarked on the trail run in support of Havens Hospices.

The stage trail run saw participants follow written descriptions, maps and footpath ‘Way Markers’ along the route of the Roach Valley Way long distance footpath.

The 23 miles was split into four legs for runners to complete, with each leg set off on the hour.

Nearly £3,000 has been raised since the first Roach Valley Way Relay was hosted.

Mike Jordan, who organised the maiden event in 2015, is pleased to have seen the amount of runners treble in just three years.

Jordan said: “It is a great ‘small’ event which is growing each year and only works due to the small number of volunteers.

“The volunteers multi-task throughout the day to ensure each leg gets off on time and runners positions and times are recorded at each finish area.

“The event is a great advert for community running clubs coming together to raise vital funds for a local hospice.”

‘Wrong Direction’, a team of four runners from Benfleet Running Club, were declared the overall winners of this year’s event.

‘Red Runners’, a team from Rochford Endurance & Distance Runners, secured the runners-up position and ‘Ratus Festinus’, a team from Rayleigh RAT (Road and Trail) Runners, claimed third spot.

Judy Grocott, an events manager for Havens Hospices, was on hand to help with the time-keeping.

And Grocott was delighted to see so much money raised.

Grocott said: “I must say a huge thanks from all of us at Havens Hospices.

“The Roach Valley Way Relay was a great event and it was a great day.”

Although Castle Point Joggers were not able to secure a place in the top three, they did impress and finished sixth out of the 35 teams.

Competing under the team name ‘Absolute Beginners?’, a team of three Castle Point Joggers members - along with a fourth team representative - took on the gruelling course.

James Austin completed the first stage of the 23 mile event in 46 minutes and 12 seconds.

Stuart Watson, who is not a Castle Point Joggers member but agreed to fill in for the team, finished stage two in an impressive time of 30 minutes and 17 seconds.

Stage three was taken on by Gareth Smith, who recorded a time of 50 minutes and 38 seconds.

The fourth and final stage involved Martin Howlett, who crossed the finish line with a time of 50 minutes and 40 seconds.