THE future of Hexham Running Festival has been thrown into doubt after organiser Greg Urwin announced his intention to “shut down the event”.

The annual festival took place for the fifth successive year on Sunday morning, with competitors taking part in the Hexham Half Marathon, as well as shorter 10k and 3k routes.

But while it attracted over 700 people to Hexham, the day was hampered by a series of problems.

Poor signposting and a shortage of marshals led to some runners veering off course, while a mix-up over the distribution of souvenir t-shirts meant some participants went home empty handed.

Some runners complained that the start line, off Corchester Lane, was too difficult to find, and also bemoaned a lack of water stations. The event’s founder Greg Urwin admitted the introduction of a red route and a green route, giving participants a choice of difficulty level for the half marathon, did not work.

He also said that only nine out of an expected 32 marshals turned out on the day.

Posting on the event’s Facebook page on Sunday afternoon, he said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed trying to create something for Hexham that would stand out. With great sadness I am going to shut down the event.

“I’ve risked so much, including putting myself into debt to try and provide better medals or goodie bags. It has been in the back of my mind that this just isn’t worth the financial worry. I apologise from the bottom of my heart for the inconvenience caused.”

Mr Urwin’s statement was met with a wealth of support on social media, with many people expressing their support for the festival to continue next year. On Tuesday, he claimed that the “simple” problems could easily be rectified.

Despite several attempts, the Courant has been unable to contact Mr Urwin for comment.

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