NEARLY 400 runners made a dash through a Basingstoke shopping centre in a bid to raise money for charity.

The Croudace Homes Festival 5k on Sunday featured a record number of entrants pounding their way through Festival Place and the wider Basingstoke town centre in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

Organised by Destination Basingstoke and sponsored by Croudace Homes, the race has become a regular on the Basingstoke running calendar.

Felicity Edwards, from Destination Basingstoke, said: “The sun shone and the whole town centre entered into the spirit of the day, the runners and supporters were out in force in another sell-out race, we have had some fantastic feedback and want to thank all the sponsors and businesses that got involved as well St Michael’s Hospice and the Basingstoke Brownies and a very loyal and enthusiastic band of volunteer marshals.”

In the seventh staging of the annual event, Javier Molina, representing Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletics Club, won, completing the course in 16 minutes 50 seconds.

The first woman home was Lesley Locks, of Hart Road Runners, with a time of 18 minutes and 4 seconds, coming seventh overall.

Neil Churchill, director of Festival Place, added: “It was quite a spectacle to see all the runners going through Festival Place and the rest of the town.

“What a great start to a Sunday, we were so pleased to see the restaurants open and busy so early.”