17 June 2024

[17 June 2024] Local rail operator, Trenitalia c2c, hosted its first ever Ultra Marathon on Saturday 15 June, with 250 runners from across the UK taking part and hailing the inaugural event a huge success.    

c2c’s inaugural Ultra Marathon – in partnership with the Railway Children charity – took place on Saturday 15 June, with 250 runners from all corners of the UK covering a wide and varied range of industrial landscapes, marshland, nature reserves, countryside trails, beaches and seaside towns as they ran east across the banks of the river Thames to the finish line in Southend. 

Organised by specialist extreme events company XNRG, the Ultra Marathon comprised two separate races – a 30-mile course starting at Tilbury and 50-mile route from Upminster – with both closely following the iconic Essex Riviera to Benfleet, before heading through Leigh-on-Sea, Chalkwell, Westcliff and then along the seafront to Southend Central station. 

It is estimated that the event raised well over £25k for Railway Children, a charity which works to support vulnerable children alone and at risk on the streets and at transport hubs in the UK, India and Tanzania. 

Bethan Marshall, Events & Corporate Fundraising Officer at Railway Children said:“To raise over £25k is absolutely fantasticandwill provideenough money to run one of our emergency shelters in India for a year. That’s onewhole year of providing emergency food, clothing, and a safe place to stay for children found alone and in danger at a station in India. 

“What an amazing event with a brilliant outcome – thank you to everyone at c2c and all of the heroes who ran on Saturday.”  

The winner of the 50-mile race, in a time of 7:47:50, was Adam Pope, 48, a charity worker from Lewisham. Commenting on his 146th Ultra Marathon and first ever win, Adam said: “It was absolutely brilliant, I just can’t believe it. I had hoped for a top ten finish, but to win it is beyond my wildest dreams.”

“It really was tough going at times, but the support of the volunteers across the route, along with a couple of podcasts and punk music playing in my headphones, got me through.

“I feel as though I will wake up in the morning and this will have all been a dream.” 

The winner of the 30-mile race, in a time of 3:51:00, was Stephen Kirsh, 24, a member of Southend Athletics Club and a PE teacher at the FitzWimarc School in Rayleigh. Speaking about his first ever Ultra win, a clearly jubilant Stephen said: “I’m absolutely buzzing! Everything about the race was just brilliant, from the organisation, the signposting of the route, the ever-changing landscape, the supporters on the course and at aid stations, it really was first-class.I can’t wait to come back next year to see you all and defend my title!”

Stephen added: “I’m now off for a celebratory pint with my dad – he’s my inspiration and the person who got me into long-distance running.”

The first female athletes across the finish line were (50-miles) Jayne Rudolph in time of 9:28:31 and (30-miles) Beki Hilton-Hanns 4:39:09. 

c2c Managing Director, Rob Mullen, who finished the 50-mile race in 26th place and in a time of 9:32:12, said: “First and foremost, I would like to thank Neil and the team at XNRG, along with the small army of volunteers from Railway Children, local athletics clubs and of course my colleagues at c2c who made this event possible.  

“Today has been over a year in the making, and I am so delighted and humbled to have been able to bring this event to Southend while also raising vital funds for Railway Children in the process.” 

Rob added: “This great city deserves a recognised Ultra Marathon and I’ll be working with my team to see if we can do it all again next year. But for now, I’m looking forward enjoying the evening with my family who have shared this incredible journey with me every step of the way.  

The full list of results for both the 30 and 50-mile races can be found here. Pictures from the day can be found on two26photography, with more being added to the dedicated event Flickr page over the coming days. 



About c2c  

  • c2c is the award-winning train operator running services between Fenchurch Street and Shoeburyness, serving 26 stations in East London and South Essex.   
  • Owned by Trenitalia, c2c is one of the UK’s most punctual and popular train operators and nearly 34 million journeys are made on its services every year.   
  • Italian-based Trenitalia is one of Europe’s leading rail operators and the passenger rail arm of FS Italiane Group.   
  • For more information email mediaenquiries@c2crail.net  

 About Railway Children 

  • Since being founded in 1995, Railway Children has had one mission: to keep street-connected children safe wherever they are in the world.  
  • In India, Tanzania and the UK, Railway Children has saved and changed the lives of vulnerable children at risk of a life on the streets – or already surviving their cruelty. 
  • For further information go to railwaychildren.org.uk/  

About XNRG 

  • XNRG is a specialist extreme events organiser, running many ultra marathons and multi-day events 
  • XNRG’s mission is to help people challenge themselves and break through their mental and physical barriers, whilst providing peace of mind with expertly run events, going the extra mile for every competitor. 
  • For further information go to https://www.xnrg.co.uk/about 



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