ORGANISERS of a new race hope it succeeds in attracting more people to the sport of fell running.

Durham Fell Runners held its first event on Cockfield Fell in the village of Cockfield, near Bishop Auckland, on Thursday night.

Race organiser Andy Blackett said: “We had 51 runners, it was a 7km course over two laps– the first was a social run and the second was the race-proper.

“There was a big thunder storm during registration so most people stayed in their cars before the start of the race, then it stayed nice enough to do the run before it rained again during the prize giving afterwards.

"There was a mix of ages and people from different running backgrounds– road runners, different athletic club members and fell runners.

“That was great because the idea was to encourage people to give fell running a go, it can be quite intimidating if you’ve never done it before and more so if in remote mountainous parts of the country.

“I think everyone enjoyed it, it was described as fun and relaxed and quite a few said they would do it again.”

Durham Fell Runners' Tom Dobbing pipped fellow favourite Rory Woods, who currently leads the club’s championship standings, to first spot. And club captain Paul Hodgson said it was ‘an entirely disheartening experience’ to see teen Sam Rhodes-Dawber run up the hill to finish in third.