MORE than 250 runners completed the testing Rochford 10k.

The multi-terrain course saw those taking part having to dig deep to reach the finish line on Sunday.

But Ian Toal, the chairman of Rochford Running Club, was thrilled to see the race run so smoothly - just months after it was nearly called off.

“Rochford Running Club has been going through a rebuilding phase and the committee were very keen to continue hosting the race when we faced a decision to pull the plug or go with it back around December time,” said Toal.

“But I think Sunday proved we were right to continue to run the race because it went so well and everyone seemed to enjoy it.”

The event started and finished at the Ashingdon Primary Academy and saw runners having to run on private roads as well as short and long grass.

But Toal feels that is what makes the Rochford 10k different to other races which are organised.

“We feel it is a fairly unique race, run across some private farmland and then it opens up to beautiful views along the River Crouch,” said Toal.

“It is a little bit tough underfoot but that is what makes it unique.

“We are also especially proud of the huge support our marshals give.

“That’s our major selling point and they really get behind all of the runners.”

Sunday was the fourth time the Rochford 10k had been held.

And Toal was thrilled to see many runners sign up late on.

“We worked hard to sell the race well and lots of people entered in the last month,” said Toal.

“In the near future, we’ll be looking into whether a different route is a viable option next year or if it is best to stick with this pretty route and we will try and sell the race even better next year.

“We feel it is an important event for the local running community - both recreational runners and more serious club runners.

“And it also shows the local community just how friendly our club is.”

Chris Hatton was the first finisher of Sunday’s race as the Southend Athletics Club runner crossed the line in 35 minutes and 24 seconds.

Christian Holmes, of Southend, took second with Benfleet Running Club Damien Harvey in third.

Fourth-placed Jason Baker, fifth-placed Shay Broomhall and sixth-placed Michael Wilkes also finished in under 40 minutes.

Billericay Striders’ Ruth Chadney was the first female to finish, running 44 minutes and six seconds.

Laura Renshaw took second, Kirsty Trim third, Hollie Boyd fourth and Angela Hall fifth.

In total, there were 258 finishers of the Rochford 10k, which was slightly down on the number who completed last year’s event.