WATCH: Runners hit the road in aid of Hartlepool hospice

MORE than 100 runners hit the roads of Hartlepool to raise money for a hospice.

Money raised by the event will go to Hartlepool and District Hospice.

Some of the runners pictured taking part in the Hartlepool and District Hospice run.

Some of the runners pictured taking part in the Hartlepool and District Hospice run.

Amid sunny weather, those taking part started at Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club before taking in the promenade to Seaton Carew, then headed back to the club.

First to cross the finish line for the run, called the Hartlepool 5-Miler, was Alan Piggford in a time of 25mins 43secs.

The quickest female participant was Sharon Stephenson, in 33mins 30secs.

Finishers were handed bottles of water and hospice T-shirts to thank them for their efforts.

Among those running was 16-year-old Matthew Bowman.

“It was good fun,” said Matthew, of Billingham. “It was tough and quite windy on the second half of the run on the way back, but I enjoyed it, and I would definitely like to do it next year.”

Hartlepool mum Lisa Darby, 42, managed to complete the route in 36 minutes.

Lisa – cheered on by husband Graham, 42, and children Courtney, 17, and Callum, eight – said: “It was a relatively flat course.

“I did the Great North Run in September, and before that, I’d done the Middlesbrough 10k because I only started running at the beginning of the year.

“This is a great cause to do a run for, and hopefully there’ll be more people next year.”

The Wells Avenue hospice costs £2.5m to run each year, with 20 per cent funded by the NHS and the remainder raised in the community through donations.

In the last year, however, it has cut spending by more than £200,000 through voluntary redundancies, vacancy removals and budget cuts, so every penny is needed.

The hospice’s events fundraiser, Greg Hildreth, said: “We’ve had about 120 people taking part.

“It’s the first time we’ve put on the event, and we are really pleased with the uptake.

“Hopefully, it will make upwards of £3,000, and we’ll hold it again next year.

“We’ve had great support from Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers, Hartlepool Borough Council, the sports development team within the council, Barclays Bank and the yacht club.”