OVER 1200 runners took to the streets on Sunday for the return of a town favourite as traffic ground to a halt in Marlow.

The Marlow 5, now in its 31st year, welcomed runners from far and wide to the five-mile Marlow street course.

Organised by running club the Handy Cross Runners, the race acts as a warm up for the longer, more gruelling Wycombe Half Marathon on July 10.

And after a series of road closures were put in place throughout town, competitors set off from Higginson Park, with winner Paskar Owor crossing the line in 25 minutes, 28 seconds.

Club coach Mike Hickman said: "It went very well, the rain held off and it was quite cool, which I’m sure the runners appreciated and the winner posted a good time, he was pretty fast.

"Normally we have one or two traffic issues but it went smoothly and the motorists were all quite considerate."

Streets across town, including the High Street, Spittal Street, Marlow Bridge and parts of West Street, were closed to traffic for the duration of the five-mile race, which began at 9.30am.

The annual race, sponsored by Grant and Stone, starts and finishes in Higginson Park, and winds its way through much of the town centre with the roads lined with supporters.

The top placed woman was Melanie Wilkins, of the Runner’s Retreat shop on West Street, who completed the five mile course in 31:11.

And among the hundreds of competitors, 18 ran in support of Marlow Bottom Pre-School, which has unveiled a new playground paid for using donations.

Entries are now being accepted for the Wycombe Half Marathon on July 20. For more information, visit www.handycrossrunners.co.uk