SPORT Relief races were held across Gwent today, many for the first time, with hundreds of runners going the extra mile for the charity.

On a cold but fine morning, more than 200 participants gathered for the Newport’s Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile, offering a one, three or six mile course, and which finished up at the Riverfront Theatre.

The feel-good -proceedings kicked off with group warm-up to pumping pop music outside the city campus for the University of South Wales, before Newport Gwent Dragons player Thomas Rhys Thomas set the runners on their way.

Competitors aged from the young to the old, with many in fancy dress, including a Dennis the Menace outfit, Batman and Catwoman.

One of the first to cross the finish line was seven-year-old Mollie McLaren, who ran with mum and dad, Rachel and Alisdair, and raised £235 to help send children to school in Peru.

But the youngest runner on the day was Riley Pearce, aged just four, whose family said he did it to “beat his bampy”, Tim Crane.

The event was organised by Newport City Council Events Team Susannah Stonehouse and Jo Parcell, who said they were “exceptionally pleased”.

“We hope to run it again next year,” Ms Parcell added.

Thomas Rhys Thomas also congratulated all who took part after the event, while Newport councillor Chris Evans said it was an example of “Newport at its best”.

Other events were planned for Waunfawr Park in Risca, Caerphilly Castle, Caldicot Castle and The Old Station, Tintern, where John Sterry said there was a “great turnout”.

“We had a few dogs, a dad with a pushchair and even some older people on space hoppers, among 160 runners. I’m really proud of the people of Monmouth for making the effort”.

Torfaen also got into the spirit, at Cwmbran Stadium, with 250 friends, families and work mates getting involved.

Sally Church, chief executive officer of Torfaen Leisure Trust, said: “Watching the community come together to support such a great cause was brilliant. We feel so proud knowing that the money raised here today will help people living really tough lives right here in Torfaen, the UK and across the world.”

Gwent schools, businesses and organisations have also taken on a variety of challenges to raise funds for the charity.

Among them was not-for-profit UK SBS Ltd who provided their services to take donations over the phone on Friday.

A spokeswoman said: “The phones were hot and the team helped to raise cash to give extremely vulnerable and disadvantaged people a helping hand to turn their lives around.”

Sport Relief raised more than £50 million when it was last held in 2012.

For more information and to sign up to one of events visit