HUNDREDS of runners flocked to a popular relay race for its 13th annual event.

The Neptune Relays took place on Wednesday in Hardwick Park, near Sedgefield, where about 500 athletes from across the North-East competed for trophies and bags of fruit.

The event was organised by the Sedgefield Harriers athletics club who were keen to outrun the competition.

Chris Lines of the running club said: “It’s a really welcoming grassroots event.

“The relays are exciting because usually you are competing as an individual, but this is a team event which is always nice to get involved in as an athlete.

“The races attract clubs from all over the North-East. It’s a cracking opportunity for people who may be a bit nervous about taking part in a competitive running event.”

Over 120 teams participated in the relays which saw members of four run a 1.7 mile stretch each.

Competitive teams taking part in the event included Crook and District Athletic Club and Aycliffe Running Club.

Race director Ean Parsons said: “The relays started off with about 20 teams, now we’ve got over one hundred, so it’s been really well received.

“It’s a fantastic event to organise because people really enjoy it as it’s unique.

“We keep it all inclusive and it’s just a really nice place to run because it’s Hardwick Park.”

The senior men’s event was won by Durham City Harriers for the fourth year in a row, ahead of NYMAC and the Sedgefield Harriers.

Durham City Harriers also claimed first place in the women’s senior race.

Billingham Marsh House Harriers won the men’s veteran 50 race and the Elvet Striders triumphed in the women’s veteran 45 category.

Durham City Harriers won the junior boys title followed by Billingham Marsh House Harriers.

The non-club category saw a win for the Coxhoe Striders.