HUNDREDS of runners pounded the pavements around Basingstoke’s Festival Place shopping centre to pull in the pounds for a good cause.

More than 200 people of all ages and abilities took part in the second Brackenwood Festival 5k last Sunday in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

The unusual shopping centre event, which is sponsored by Brackenwood Windows, in Kimbell Road, South Ham, Basingstoke, saw runners travel through the middle of Festival Place and around Basing View and Eastrop Park before making their way back to Festival Place to cross the finish line.

Before it began, a warm-up was held by Basingstoke personal trainer Patricia Lopez, from Time4Training.

Crowds lined part of the routes and were at the finishing line to see last year’s winner, 19-year-old Brendan O’Connor, retain his title after completing the course in just 17 minutes and 10 seconds.

The runner from Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club was closely followed by Martin Mannion, 48, from Winchester Athletics Club and Marc Soane, 39, also from Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club, in third.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The first female runner across the line was 26-year-old Charlotte Earl, from Basing-stoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club, followed by Samantha Fawcett, 30, from Team Bravo. Gemma Bigg, 19, from Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club, was third.

Businesses across Basingstoke did their bit to help during the event. Festival Place restaurant Nando’s supplied water to keep the runners hydrated, and Houndmills Road-based Fyffes donated bananas to give them an energy boost.

Following the race, prizes were awarded to participants, including team trophies for the Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club and the Brackenwood Bul-lets. In addition, all participants were given a dazzling lime green T-shirt as a memento.

David Medcraft, managing director at Brackenwood Windows, told The Gazette: “It was a fantastic event, and we are delighted to be associated with it.

“It is a great opportunity for the town to come together, and a wonderful team building event for us too. Winning the team trophy was a real bonus. Thank-you to Destination Basingstoke for organising the event for us.”

Felicity Edwards, race director at Destination Basingstoke, added: “We want to thank everyone for supporting the race, from our sponsors with their very fast team, to Festival Place for allowing us to disturb the peace on a Sunday morning. We also had the help of lots of volunteer marshals.”