MORE than 250 runners completed the picturesque Bluebell 5.

First to finish was Leigh on Sea Striders’ Matibini Matibini who crossed the line in a time of 29 minutes and 28 seconds.

Close behind him was the first female finisher, Lindsey Colman of Southend AC, who ran the five mile course in 33 minutes and three seconds.

And race director Nigel Pointer was delighted by how popular the race - which was organised by Pitsea Running Club - proved to be.

“It was great to see close to 300 runners taking part,” said Pointer.

“It’s a really nice route through the woods at Havens Hospices and we’re delighted that so many people were able to come along and enjoy it.

“We’re also thankful to all the marshals who gave up their time to make the day such a success and we look forward to more of the same next year.”

The Bluebell 5, which starts and finishes next to Little Havens in Thundersley, also raised more than £3,000 for the Essex Wildlife Trust.

And that also pleased Pointer.

“We’re proud to have raised those much needed funds and it seems right that’s the charity we support with this run,” said Pointer.

“We’ve had lots of compliments about how the race went and the course itself which was great to hear.”

Chris Wayman took second place in the Bluebell 5 with 30.03 while Andrew Low, who also runs for Benfleet RC, came third.

Benfleet’s Dominique Hart was the second female finisher while Leigh on Sea Striders’ Nikki Baynes finished third.