MORE than 600 runners dug deep in demanding conditions to complete the challenging Benfleet 15.

The tough 15 mile multi-terrain course was made tougher by sleet and snow on Sunday.

But Benfleet Running Club’s Graham Douglass felt the event was again a huge hit.

“This year’s Benfleet 15 has been a massive success,” said Douglass.

“Benfleet Running Club made some changes this year including chip timing, medals and options around entrance all of which seem to have resonated with the runners.

“We sold out very early this year with a record number of entrants.

“Even after closing entries we were maintaining a waiting list of over 60 people.

“In spite of the challenging weather the most important people of the day, the runners, have given us fantastic feedback, with some minor areas for improvement.

"We are all looking forward to an even better 2019 and how we can take the feedback from the runners and the local community to achieve that success.”

Paul Molyneux was clearly not affected by the cold weather as he stormed to victory in one hour, 28 minutes and 58 seconds. Just behind him in second was Crispian Bloomfield who crossed the line in 1.30.46 while Alex Manton took third in 1.34.09.

Nikki Brockbank was the first female runner to finish as recorded an impressive time of 1.46.49. Jennifer Ansell was the second female finisher as she crossed the line in 1.48.15 while Sophie Donges was third in 1.52.08.

The refreshments area also made £350 for the Amy May Trust.