SOME 322 runners from far and wide took part in the first Hereford Couriers Christmas 10-kilometre race, which organisers say shows the popularity of the sport.

James Bingham, of Cheltenham Harriers, took victory in the men’s race while Sarah Mackness, of Notts AC, took the women’s honours.

The race took part in the rolling country lanes near Breinton and Bingham had an impressive run crossing the line in 33 minutes and 12 seconds.

Bingham finished well over a minute ahead of second place Malachi Cashmore (Worcester AC) with Hereford Couriers veteran Barry Reynolds close behind to finish in third place crossing the line in 35 minutes and nine seconds.

In the women’s race Mackness won in a terrific time of 39 minutes and 56 seconds, finishing 31 seconds ahead of Jaydee Peters (Woking AC) and the top three was completed by local runner Gemma Mallett (Croft Ambrey) in a time of 40 minutes and 51 Seconds.

Hereford Couriers did the double in the team awards picking up both the men’s and women’s prizes.

Barry Reynolds, Matt James and Andy Tyler took a clear victory in the men's team competition with a solid performances.

Meanwhile, Naomi Prosser, Sheryl Evans and Clare Mallender helped the ladies in red to the team honours.

There was also a host of category prizes for the veteran and junior sections.

Local winners were: Jake Underhill (veteran 40 male); Barry Reynolds (veteran 45 male); Adrian Taylor (veteran 50 male); Tim Taylor (veteran 60 male); Brian Symons (veteran 70+ male); Amy Smith (veteran 35 female); Louisa Foti (veteran 45 female); Sheryl Evans (veteran 50 female).

Mike Link, chair of Hereford Couriers said: “Sunday’s race has just proved how much Herefordshire running is booming, to get 322 runners of all abilities out on a very undulating course is pleasing to see, we’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of interest and support for the race, considering we only opened entries early November. “Thank you to our team members, volunteers and the excellent hospitality of Hereford Rugby Club for helping us make Sunday happen.

“If you raced on Sunday or just looking to join a friendly bunch of runners come along to our ever popular social run every Tuesday 6.30pm at Hereford Leisure Centre.”

Next up for the Couriers is hosting the return of the popular three-race 5k Race Series with the first race in April visit for more details.