CAPED crusaders and wonder women leapt into action for an inaugural charity race held in memory of a Worcester running stalwart.

A total of 173 people took part in the first Stuart Wild Memorial Race at Perdiswell Leisure Centre in Bilford Road on Sunday, July 21.

Making the most of the superhero theme, teams and individuals took on 10 laps of a 2.62-mile course to complete a marathon.

The first man back was Nick Hooper, who managed the full distance in three hours nine minutes.

Stuart Wild, a long-standing member of Black Pear Joggers and well-known marathon runner, had begun to organise the race with fellow runner Gavin Paskin when he died suddenly on March 1.

Mr Paskin decided to press ahead with the event and it was agreed it would be renamed in tribute to the 65-year-old.

He said: “The whole event was in a fun atmosphere with most people running in fancy dress and we had a free wine station alongside the water station at the end of each 2.62-mile lap. Stuart had always talked to me about the event being a real fun family day and that was exactly how it was – with everyone smiling and laughing all day long – Stuart would have loved it and I was proud to have been able to organise the event in his name and memory.

“I’d like to make it an annual event and keep Stuart’s memory alive through it.”

Among the 24 runners who took on the full marathon was third place finisher and Mr Wild’s son, Ian, who felt compelled to take on the challenge after just three months training.

He said: “It was a fantastic day. So many people enjoyed the event which is exactly what my father would have wanted.

“There were teams in fancy dress and individuals like myself going through the mill of a first marathon. Personally, I was very proud of my achievement. As a first marathon, I matched my father’s personal best which just added to the emotion of the day. There’s no way I would have done so well if it hadn't been for the support of friends, family and club members. There wasn’t a better way for me to remember my father. Through this event more people added jogging to their daily life and if that’s my father’s legacy he would be quite satisfied.”

The event was in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association and St Richard’s Hospice and the total is still being counted.