In short: Wonderful marshaling, challenging terrain, just the right distance and utterly rewarding. In full: Last year was my first Benfleet 15 and despite the snow and harsh conditions - I was hooked. In some ways, I felt a little cheated by the weather last year as this race is somewhat known for the muddy conditions - that make it all the more challenging. If I felt cheated by the weather last year then Mother Nature put that firmly right this year.
Frankly, I knew it was going to be muddy - but could not have imagined just how muddy it would be. The first 3 to 4 miles presented every type of mud known to man - from runny and slippy to firm and deep (the type that'll pull your shoes off). As you turn back out onto a very short road section, you get some respite. And, in fact, the real deep stuff didn't start again until the return leg from Canvey Island (about 10 miles in).
The last few miles were incredibly tough - with some of the steepest climbs of the day - made all the harder by the underfoot conditions. In fact, on one very short ascent (from a lower path - up through a gate) we were all on all fours - grabbing at roots!!
The uphill finish really does feel like it's going to finish you - but the crowd support at the top was something else.
And then, of course, once it's all over, you get that treasured Benfleet 15 Running Shirt - to proudly wear and let everyone know how much you like to suffer.
This is an exceptionally well organised event. The atmosphere is wonderful, the marshals are in a league of their own and the run and reward top drawer.
The Benfleet 15 is now a firm fixture on my annual calendar - thanks BRC for bringing this together every year. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: A muddy good race In full: I completed this last year in the snow and found it very challenging. After changing the course slightly and running it mild weather with plenty of mud, it felt like a completely different beast all together. I loved this last year, and loved it again this year. the hill at the end of the course was horrific. Would i do it again? HELL YES! It's the law! Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Something for everyone In full: Great race especially if you like mud and hills! New course this year making it even more challenging. If you are thinking of doing this race for the first time make sure you wear track shoes, road shoes are suicidal. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Tough but very rewarding race In full: Used this for hill-marathon training and it fit the bill perfectly. The hills in the first 5 and last 3 miles were generally shortish and steep, and made all the more challenging by tons of ankle deep mud. The flatter, slightly firmer middle miles were very welcome and overall this was a varied and testing cross country run. This was my first time at Benfleet and I would be back in a second, assuming I can get my kit cleaned up by then.
One minor grumble - I travelled by train and bike to the event and without a car to change in it was hard to get changed/cleaned up - even a changing tent/marquee would have hepled. This is a very minor grumble in the scheme of things - wonderful race. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: The marshalls were every bit as fabulous as previous reviewers said they'd be! In full: Fantastic experience - as muddy as expected but the weather was ideal, not too hot, not too sunny, just perfect. Beautiful views and it was great to be able to see other runners on other sections of the course at various points. I knew enough people who'd done it before to know that I just needed to take it slow and easy and get round, I can work on doing a better time next year. Jelly babies & choc at water stations are a great idea and the water stations were really well placed. The hills are brutal, the mud is muddy but the experience is highly recommended, it's a real sense of achievement to have finished without falling over! Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Mud, mud and more mud... with a few evil hills In full: First time I've done the Benfleet15. Whoever chose that last hill to the finish line has an evil sense of humour! Fantastic marshals, atmosphere and well organised. Challenging, muddy and hilly with acrobatic skills an asset, especially when it comes to avoiding being wiped out by the falling (slipping & sliding) runner in front! Look forward to returning next year! Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: TOUGH BUT REWARDING! In full: First time running this and I found out after about 10 miles that I wasn't fit enough!!! The course is challenging with the hills and the mud made it very hard work on the legs. IT's organized very well and the marshalling was very good. During the last couple of miles I said to myself never again...........But I think I will be back next year!!! Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Mud, hills and cake In full: 1st Benfleet 15 and despite picking myself out the slop twice near the castle thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Good Marshall's throughout and well organised although the race director must have lost his wallet or something on the day he decided the route for the 1st three and last two miles as it was positively evil.... Even so, if you have a sense of humour or are slightly mad you will like me, be back.... Date of review: January 19, 2014