MORE than 250 runners braved the freezing conditions to take part in the five mile ‘Rudolph Run’ along Southend sea front.

Many of those taking part completed the course in Christmas themed fancy dress costumes.

But it was Benfleet Running Club’s James Caldon who led the way, finishing in a time of 27 minutes and 24 seconds.

And Caldon was happy to have crossed the line first.

“It was great to win again,” said Caldon.

“The Rudolph Five is always an enjoyable race, seeing lots of people dressed up as Santa and elves.

“It was great again this year despite the cold conditions and a big thank you must go to the organisers and all the marshals who stood out in the freezing rain all morning.”

Robert Lloyd Smith - of Sutton Runners - took second place behind Caldon while Ben Green, from Benfleet RC, was third as he finished in a time of 29 minutes and 20 seconds.

Annabel Matthews-Smith, from Southend AC was the first female finisher, crossing the line in 34 minutes and 29 seconds as she finished 14th overall.

Jayne Stacey - of Benfleet Running Club - was the second female finisher in a time of 37 minutes and 19 seconds while Nicola Wadlan was third in 37 minutes and 36 seconds.

The Rudolph Run has been staged for the past seven years in Southend and went ahead this time around despite the cold weather.

The race was supported by Havens Hospices.