AN Olympic champion inspired runners who took on a new course in a County Durham forest at the weekend.

World Champion runner, Steve Cram, is backing Forestry Commission England's Forestry 100 Running series - a series of 10k events to mark their centenary celebrations.

The Hamsterley Forest 10k was the first in the series to come to the North on Sunday, April 7.

Cram said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Forestry 100 series celebrating 100 years of the Forestry Commission.

"I’m a huge fan of exploring the outdoors on foot, and trail running through the forests on our doorsteps is a great way to combine both.

“It was this passion that helped me set up the Kielder Marathon in the heart of Northumberland, taking in some of the most stunning routes through the forest trails.

"The Forestry 100 series will be perfect training if you’re interested in joining us for our own birthday celebration in Kielder later this year.”

Alex MacLennan, the Forestry Commission's recreation and public affairs manager, North East said Cram's involvement in the event was "fantastic".

And hundreds of runners of all abilities took part in the event in the forest, near Bishop Auckland.