SPIRITS were high this weekend as hundreds took part in one of the most popular races Basingstoke has to offer.

The Croudace Homes Festival 5k, organised by Destination Basingstoke, took place on Sunday, April 16, with eager runners kicking off at 9.30 am. 

With an iconic route through the town, runners were taken through the heart of Festival Place to Basing View, and then Eastrop Park. 

To reach the end of the five kilometres, racers had run back to Festival Square where supportive friends and family were waiting, as well as volunteers offering water and bananas. 

Taking the winning spot for the men was Rob Wood, 34, who completed the race in 15 minutes and 38 seconds. 

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Basingstoke Gazette: The route takes the runners through the town centreThe route takes the runners through the town centre (Image: Sean Dillow, The Big Cheese Photography)

Mr Wood, who has lived in Kempshot for 10 years, told The Gazette: "It was a good race, it's always good to come out and support the clubs.

"It is very unique running through the shopping centre, it's very rare you can do that in places." 

Following him was Cameron Coveney, 19, who completed the course in 15 minutes and 55 seconds. Dave Ragan crossed the line third in a time of 16 minutes and seven seconds. 

It was a sprint finish for the women, 35-year-old Charlotte Ragan crossed the line after 18 minutes 47 seconds - less than a second before Christine Halls, 37. 

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Basingstoke Gazette: Celebrations for all at the end of the successful event Celebrations for all at the end of the successful event (Image: Sean Dillow, The Big Cheese Photography)

Ms Halls, who was five seconds off her personal best, said: "That was tough, it was exciting to be here." 

Eileen Beach was the third woman to cross the line, taking 19 minutes and 28 seconds to complete the course. 

Walter Thorpe was the oldest competitor taking part in the five-kilometre race. As the 83-year-old crossed the line, he was met with cheers from the crowd.

Mr Thorpe, who worked in printing for 60 years, said: "I run two to three miles every day, so that was really comfortable for me. It is a lovely little course, I love it - I've done this race for seven or eight years now."

The Basingstoke 5k Your Way team crossed the line together holding hands. The supportive community group aims to help people who are going through cancer treatment, or are recovering from cancer, by keeping them active. 

Alex Conboy, who set up the group in 2019, said: "It was just really lovely today, I am so keen to encourage people to move and keep active."

Mrs Conboy, who lives in Cliddeston and works as a cancer rehabilitation personal trainer, is keen to welcome anyone to the support group. 

She continued: "We do the park run every month, people can either do the whole thing, running or walking, or just do one lap. We always go out for tea and cake afterwards."

The Basingstoke 5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer group can be found on Facebook here.