MORE than 500 people went the extra mile to pull in the pounds for a Basingstoke charity.

In total, 504 entrants took part in the St Michael’s Hospice Fun Run at Down Grange, in Kempshott, completing a 10km run or a 5km family fun run to raise funds for the good cause.

A warm-up was led by two personal trainers from Basingstoke Sports Centre, in Festival Place, and the runners then set off from under a giant inflatable banner near the clubhouse of Basingstoke Rugby Football Club.

The hospice has already raised £10,000 through entry fees alone, and it is hoping to drum up a further £15,000 through individual sponsorship efforts from the entrants.

Iain Cameron, director of income generation at St Michael’s, said: “We hope to raise £25,000, and this year is the biggest year of this event yet.

“We urge people to get as much sponsorship as they can. We know it is difficult but it really does allow us to deliver our services. We had more people taking part this year – 504 runners – which was absolutely fantastic and up from the 420 we had last year.”

Father-of-two Trevor Calver was just one of the people who took part in the 5km run on the night. The 45-year-old, from St Peters Road, in South Ham, Basingstoke, was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome 24 years ago.

He said: “Last year, I did my first 5km and I am doing another one this year as I am not quite up to 10km. I am just determined to progress and not go backwards.”

The winner of the 10km race was Rob Arkell, from Fareham, while Basingstoke’s Rebecca Sleap, from event sponsor Unum, was the first woman to cross the finishing line. Brother and sister Alex and Gemma Biggs, from Chineham, were the winners of the 5km event.

Winner Rob, who broke the track record after completing the 10km race in just 37 minutes and 53 seconds, said: “The hospice does so much for people across north Hampshire with a life-limiting illness, and I am in awe of their fundraising efforts to make their work possible.

“I am proud to be able to help and support the charity in this small way to make their truly remarkable specialist care and support possible.”