A POPULAR city run returns next weekend with more than 5,000 runners of all ages gearing up for a weekend of physical activity.

The Worcester City Run features different challenges and courses with runners being able to take on routes of varying difficulty, depending on their level.

Sunday, September 15 sees the return of the popular half-marathon, which begins in Castle Street before looping round Foregate Street, Friar Street, Deansway, past Worcester Cathedral, along the river to Diglis, back along the other side of the river past Chapter Meadows and Blackfinch New Road, down Hylton Road and past the University campus, before looping round and coming back up Hylton Road and back to the finish line, opposite where the run started.

The 10k run is the same but avoids Hylton Road and the University campus.

The juniors run sets off at 9.10am on September 15, followed by the adults at 9.45.

All participants will receive a t-shirt, medal and goody bag.

The previous day, Saturday, September 14 will see the Worcester Run 1 2 3 - which is a 1km loop around the city.

Runners can choose to run one, two or three laps of the course and anyone over the age of seven can take part.

This year's event has its first title sponsor, with Worcester based industrial gas firm Air Products signing up to back the Worcester City Runs for three years.

Worcester's mayor, Cllr Allah Ditta, said: “The Worcester City Run is one of the city’s most popular annual fixtures and it’s great to see the city hosting mass participation sporting events such as this.

"I’m really looking forward to firing the starting gun on the day."

To get runners ready for the event, there are a series of ‘Start Me Up’ sessions being held in the city. The sessions are free to attend and involve taking part in a training run on part of the route.

The next Start Me Up session is on Saturday, September 7.

For more information, email info@eventsofthenorth.com.

This year's run means that several city roads will be closed during the day.

The roads closed for the run are: Grandstand Road, Croft Road, Worcester Bridge (east and west carriageways), Hylton Road, Tybridge Street, New Road, Bridge Street, All Saints Road, Dolday, The Butts, Farrier Street, Castle Street, Foregate Street, The Foregate, Angel Street, Angel Place, Broad Street (from its junction with Angel Place to its junction with High Street) St Swithins Street, Mealcheapen Street, New Street, Friar Street, College Street, Deansway, Quay Street, Kleve Walk, Severn Way, Portland Walk, Mill Street, Diglis Road, Basin Road, Diglis Dock Road, Navigation Road, Diglis Footbridge, Bromwich Parade, North Parade, Himbleton Road, Fern Road, Comer Gardens, Oldbury Road (from its junction with Comer Road to the city limits being 300m North of its junction with Tudor Way) Henwick Road (from its junction with Martley Road to the University of Worcester entrance) and Martley Road (from the city limits to its junction with Hallow Road).

It is expected that these closures will be required from 05:00 hours to 13:00 hours.