MORE than 400 people braved one of the hottest days of the year on Sunday (August 19) to test their stamina and speed in the Riverside Runners 25th Anniversary 10k Race.

Organised by the St Neots-based running club and The Hunts Post, the charity event looks set to have raised hundreds of pounds for the newspaper's New Life Appeal, although the final amount is still being finalised.

And it looks to have inspired many people into getting out and running - although some people who had registered to take part were put off by the heat ... or tempted to spend the day on the beach (well, we don't get many scorchers in this country).

However, 429 runners lined up at Riverside Park, St Neots, at 10.30am for an all-terrain run which headed out to Eaton Socon and Eynesbury, finishing back at the park.

First man back was one of Riverside Runners' own Paul Oliver. The Mo Farah of St Neots finished in 36m 15sec. Fiona Halls, of Saffron Striders was the first woman to finish, crossing the line in 43m 30sec.

Prior to the main event, Riverside Runners had also organised a 3k fun run which attracted about 50 people on the day.

"It was a fantastic success, I'm still on a bit of a high," Liz Hiner, one of the organisers, said. "The only negative was the heat, but just two weeks ago we were wondering if it would go ahead because of the wet weather and flooding in the park.

"We had 600 entries but 429 runners, so I guess the sun might have tempted a few people to the beach."

All but two people finished the race and those who did were rewarded with a splendid 25th anniversary T shirt.

The race, which was sponsored by Circle Healthcare, Mick George and TriSportsPlus and support Anglia Co-op, also attracted a small army of volunteers who made the race possible.

Liz added: "It was overwhelming the amount of support that we had - Ruth Chamberlain, Paul Veitch, Nigel Owen and Paul Ridley, to name a few, were brilliant. Without the volunteers it certainly wouldn't have been possible.

"We began planning the race last summer as a celebration of our 25th anniversary. There were all sorts of ideas, but I love organising things and I said why don't we just do a 10k. It's what we are, we're a running club and so we formed a committee and this was the result."

As well as supporting the event, The Hunts Post Editor Andy Veale took part in the 10k finishing in 1h 7min.

He said: "Congratulations to all those who took part - I know how difficult it was to run in that heat ... and, for those who do not usually run, I know how much you have been suffering over the past few days.

"I would also like to say a thank you to our sponsors - your support for this event was fantatsic and made it into a very special day for the Riverside Runners, one which they should all be proud of."