THE second running of the Rayleigh 10k proved to be a huge success.

Close to 450 runners started the race.

And organiser John Cuthbertson was delighted with the popularity of the event.

“It was a great success and we had 60 per cent more runners than last year,” said Cuthbertson.

“We’ve had many compliments from runners on how much they enjoyed the course and the friendly and supportive marshals, despite the very muddy conditions on various parts of the course.”

Southend Athletics Club’s Lee Taylor was the first finisher as he crossed the line in 34 minutes and 53 seconds.

Taylor’s time was 1.34 minutes faster than last year and also saw him win the male over-40 category.

Last year’s winner, Chris Hatton, finished runner-up this time around in a time of 35:34, which made him the winner in the 16-39 age category.

The first lady to finish was Southend Athletics Club’s Hayley Lamkin, who completed the 10k course in 43:18.

That made Lamkin the winner of the 16-34 age category.

The second lady to finish was Leigh Striders’ Andrea Hughes.

She crossed the line in 43:43 and was the winner of the ladies over-35 category.

Hughes was one of 63 Leigh Striders members to take part.

The event organisers have yet to sort out a final tally for the amount of money raised for Rotary charities, but they are hopeful it will be close to the £3,500 mark, which is more than double what was raised for local charities last year.