THOUSANDS pounded the tarmac in Worcester City Runs, cheered on by large crowds as people put the pain of the pandemic behind them.

The sun shone on the Worcester City Half Marathon, 10K and Young Athletes Run on Sunday after the popular events were cancelled last year in favour of virtual runs due to Covid-19.

Worcester City Runs began with a first for Worcester on Saturday - Paula Radcliffe’s Families on Track, which saw family groups complete a 10K distance in a continuous relay.

In total around 3,000 people took part in the events over the weekend, organised in a partnership between Worcester City Council and Events of the North and sponsored by local company Air Products.

Three-time London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe launched the city's first families on track, a continuous relay over 10K, with her children, 14-year-old Isla and Raphael, 10, and her mum Pat, forming Pete's Butterflies.

In total 53 families took part. Another legend of athletics and event founder, Steve Cram, ran in the half marathon and showed he still had what it takes at the age of 60.

Setting three world records in 19 days at his peak in 1985, he crossed the line in 87:11.

He said:“Yet again, Worcester has delivered on every level! The good weather always turns up and so do the runners and spectators.

Paula’s Families on Track proved to be a fantastic addition to the event and we had two wonderful days of running."

Cllr Stephen Hodgson, the Mayor of Worcester, sounded the red horn to start the various races.

Winner of the Worcester City Half Marathon was Gary Whitehouse of Tipton Harriers in a gun time of 73 minutes and 52 seconds.

The women’s race was won by Gemma Hillier-Moses of Charnwood AC in 78:17.

The Worcester City 10K was won by previous half marathon winner Omer Ahmed of Birchfield Harriers in 29:40. Sally Russell of the Black Pear Joggers won the women’s Worcester City 10K in 41:05.

In the under 11 Young Athletes Run over one mile, first boy was Thomas Houghton in 7:08. First girl, and third overall, was Millie Sanders in 7:18. In the under 16 boys race over 3K, Jacob Bunyon won in 10:33.