Thousands or runners returned to Calthorpe Park to take part in the 35th Fleet Half Marathon on Sunday, March 20.

Organised by Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club, the event was once again a great success as athletes took on the 13 mile route through Fleet town centre and its beautiful country roads.

Paula Fudge, the first female finisher in the 1982 race led the runners out on an overcast and chilly Sunday morning.

Race director Penny Abbott felt rather emotional when the runners set off from the starting line at 10.30am on the dot.

She said: "The event brings Fleet together as a whole.

"The same club has been organising it for the last 35 years, which says something.

"It is quite emotional when you see everyone running as it it the culmination of all the hard work over the last nine months."

Penny has been involved with the race since 1992 and has taken part in it numerous times.

But as race director for the last 12 years and with so much to organise year on year, she leaves the physical bit to the rest of her team.

Runner Tom Barton from Fleet has participated in the Fleet Half for the last five years.

As a member of Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club, he said: "As the route goes through the town centre there is massive support.

Runner Tom Barton from Fleet

"The event is organised by a running club so they understand what runners want from such an event.

"It's a cold day, but it's perfect running conditions. We could perhaps do with it being a degree or two higher, but certainly not colder and no rain or wind."

Training for London Marathon , Tom said he aimed to complete Fleet Half in one hour 25 minutes.

Around 3,500 runners entered the race, with around 70 running clubs on board and more than 60 charities involved.

Runner Rebecca Talt from Farnborough really felt the cold on Sunday morning having returned from holidaying in Barbados just the day before.

Runner Rebecca Talt from Farnborough

Running her fourth Fleet Half, she said: "I've gone from laying on the beach in 36 degree heat to running in six degrees, so today's a bit of a challenge.

"But Fleet Half is a great run, it's well organised, the support level is fantastic and Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club have got the event down to a fine art."

Around 300 volunteers supported the event though marshalling and handing out water and St John's Ambulance was on hand to offer first aid.

For Rebecca, the half marathon provided training for a series of upcoming triathlons she will be competing in over the coming months.

"I am hoping to complete Fleet Half in under one hour 50 minutes," she added.

Despite a winter chill in the air, Fleet town centre and the surrounding roads buzzed with spectators cheering on friends and family as they made their way back to the finishing line at Calthorpe Park.