HEXHAM Running Festival is set to be relaunched with new organisers at the helm in July 2020.

Founder Greg Urwin has confirmed that Wild Deer Events will take on the festival and two of the races it comprises, the Hexham Half Marathon and the Hexham 10k.

The news is considerable boost for the event, which looked to have an uncertain future after taking place for the fifth consecutive year in July.

Despite attracting over 700 runners from across the North-East and beyond, the day was hampered by a series of problems relating to course signage, a shortage of marshals and a mix-up over the distribution of souvenir t-shirts.

Greg, who founded the half marathon in 2015, before later introducing the 10K and changing the name to Hexham Running Festival, said Wild Deer Events will bring much needed specialist support.

Owned by competitive runner and businessman Dan Flint, Wild Deer already organises several events across the district, including the Slaley Hall 10K Trail Run, which will take place on November 17, and the Close House 10K Train Run, scheduled for next February.

“I am the founder of the event and will still play a big part,” said Greg, a former Scottish national senior 800m champion whose own career was curtailed by injury.

“But Wild Deer Events will bring its expertise to the table, and it will take on the running of the half marathon and the 10K.

“Dan approached me in the aftermath of last year’s event. He could see that we needed help, and we met up and had really positive discussions about the best way to move forward.”

No dates have yet been confirmed, but Greg said the organisers are looking at June 14, June 28 or July 12, as possibilities.

The event, which has always started early in the morning, could also be switched to a 5pm start, while the route will be reconsidered.

Greg added: “We will still need road closures, but Hexham will be quieter later in the day, when most other events on in the town will have finished.”

After last July’s running festival, Greg initially announced his intention to step down, before having a change of heart.

He added: “There was too much weight on my shoulders. I always wanted to create a big running event for Hexham, and now we have support to take it forwards.”