MORE than 1,000 competitors are set to descend on the Tyne Valley for the Hexham Running Festival this summer.

The event’s founder Greg Urwin has unveiled ambitious plans to double the number of entries when the annual Hexham Half Marathon and Hexham 10k runs take place on Sunday, July 14.

The 26-year-old is also hoping to attract celebrity guests, and create a carnival atmosphere for participants and spectators.

There will be live music, a barbecue, children’s attractions, and an amended route designed to showcase Hexham’s historic town centre.

Instead of starting outside Hexham Abbey, as they have done since the event was launched in 2015, runners will get on their marks at Corchester Lane.

They will make their way into the town centre, and will embark on a loop of the Sele, as well as running along Beaumont Street, Hallstile Bank, and other prominent areas.

Greg, a former 800m national senior championship winner, said: “In the past we’ve started at the Abbey, but I want runners to really appreciate what Hexham has to offer.

“I’ve incorporated the routes that I used to train on when I was growing up, and still use to this day.”

The Tynedale Harrier said a group of Royal Marines were set to be present at the event, while Greg is also on the lookout for a well-known personality to cheer on runners as they reach ‘Heartbreak Hill’, a demanding 0.8-mile stretch of the half marathon when participants reach Sandhoe.

He added: “We changed the name to Hexham Running Festival last year because we want it to be a festival for all the family to enjoy.

“This is our fifth year and I think people are seeing the benefits. It brings people into Hexham not only on the day itself, but hopefully they will make return visits. We want to do all we can to support the the town and the local economy.

“Two years ago, we had 350-plus runners, and last year there were more than 700. This time we are hoping to attract between 1,500 and 2,000 participants.”

The event will be supported by Egger UK and Achilles Physio, and will raise money for the Chronicle Sunshine Fund, which works to improve the lives of children with disabilities.

Entries are now open. Visit