A Great Race: The Benfleet 15

I spent a few hours today reminiscing past races, rethinking night before rituals and race day nerves amongst other things. But above all, I remembered just how much I hate losing / not performing to my upmost & being pipped at the post.

As with most online activity, you can get carried away clicking, and that’s exactly what I did today. What began as an innocent scroll through my facebook news feed, led me to the fan page for one of my favourite races – the Benfleet 15.

The race itself takes you through a variety of terrain, from stony sea walls to muddy trails and everything in-between. It’s a truly gruelling race, but for the seasoned professional, or local nutter, it’s a race you’ll wholeheartedly enjoy and certainly never forget!

Sifting through the photos of this years’ race bought back a flood of memories from each section of the race. The nervous excitement of the start line, the enjoyment of smashing the first proper hill behind Benfleet station, to the sheer grit and determination of battling the boggy downs.

Completing the 15 mile course in 1 hour 44 was without doubt one of my greatest achievements as a runner. But ever nagging in the back of my mind are two things. Firstly, I finished in 29th place, as the organisers were giving spot prizes, the guy behind earned himself a lovely bottle of red wine – where’s the kudos for 29th I thought?

Secondly, the last 3 miles or so were a battle with the guy in front of me. We jostled for 28th place, and as we both tired, my mind turned to simply finishing and having a good feed. I stuck close to the Leigh Striders competitor, however, unfortunately as I didn’t know the course, having not run it previously, the final turn came up quickly and he sprinted to the finish – beating me by seconds.

Now deep down, I know that I could never have finished in front of him on that day. Even a matter of seconds is an impossibility when you give 100%. Yet, every now and then, I imagine just how proud I would have been to beat him.

Have you ever just missed out on the place in front? Does it still eat away at you & fuel your training further?

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