HEXHAM’S historic town centre became an arena for runners on Sunday morning.

Over 700 eager competitors flocked from across the North-East and beyond for the annual Hexham Running Festival.

Clouds hovered above the start line at Corchester Lane for the early start, but the sun quickly came out to allay any weather-related fears.

The out-of-town start provided a contrast to last year’s event, when participants lined-up beneath the backdrop of Hexham Abbey.

This time around, there was an element of intrigue as runners made their way over the river and railway bridges, ready to explore the town’s heritage, with the route taking in Market Street, Hexham Old Gaol, the Moot Hall, and the Abbey itself.

This time there were two routes for the half marathon. The red route included ‘Heartbreak Hill’, a demanding 0.8-mile stretch at Sandhoe, and the green route which avoided it. Gateshead Harrier Ali Bailey was the red route winner, with a time of 01:13:09. Benedict Moore of Gosforth Harriers was second in 01:20:30, and Tim Jones of Washington Running Club was third in 01:21:44.

The green route was won by Geoff Crutwell with a time of 01:36:47. He finished ahead of David Kidd, representing Lonely Goat AC (01:42:49), and third placed David Wheelhouse (01:43:59). Karl Taylor, of Morpeth Harriers, ran a time of 32:54 to win the 10k. Robert Holt, of Ponteland Runners, was second in 35:05, and Joanne Lee, of Tyne Bridge Harriers was third in 41:16.

Junior runner Tom Slane (10.38) won the 3k, finishing ahead of fellow juniors Ashley Todd (11.15) and Magnus Riddell (12.38). Full results at thepowerof10.info.