WHEN Greg Urwin launched the Hexham Running Festival in 2015, his dream was to see crowds lining the streets of his home town to cheer on the participants.

A former Scottish national senior 800m champion whose own running career had been cutailed by injury, he wanted to give something back to the sport he loved.

And he wanted to do it for Hexham - to give a town steeped in history its own running event.

Over four years, the event steadily grew. It was well supported by running clubs from across the North-East, and made many visitors aware of what Hexham had to offer.

It came with great sadness that Greg, who had poured so much time, effort, and financial resources into the continued development of the festival, decided to call it a day.

His decision followed a series of difficulties on Sunday morning, which led to some runners veering off course, complaints over a lack of water stations, a shortage of volunteer marshals, and a mix-up over the distribution of event t-shirts.

Despite the frustration and disappointment caused, it would be a great shame if the efforts carried out by the affable father-of-one, in an attempt to lay the foundations for a long-term event for Hexham, were all in vain.

The festival has received the backing of Hexham’s biggest employer, Egger UK, alongside other sponsors and volunteers who worked hard to organise, promote and grow the event.

There is undoubtedly a thirst among runners for this to continue.

The basic, fundamental errors which caused chaos on Sunday morning should not be the death knell for a running festival with such potential.

Surely now is the time to give Greg and his team a helping hand. This district is a hotbed for running, with hundreds turning out for parkrun events, and other organised races, every week.

The Great North Run put Tyneside on the map, and over the past decade, the Kielder Marathon has become one of the most popular events in the country.

With more specialist support, Greg could turn his dream of a major event for Hexham into reality.

I thoroughly enjoyed running the 10k on Sunday, and taking in the sights of Hexham through the eyes of a runner.