A record number of new runners signed up for Chippenham Harriers’ latest beginners’ programme last Friday with the first week of the nine-week course being attended by 105 people, compared with 60 last spring.

The most attending before was 77, in 2012.

Club chairman Mike Bright said he thought the surge was down to people being inspired by those they know who have attended in the past.

He said: "We were amazed by the numbers.

"I think this is a testament to the hard work of previous graduates from the programme who have shown what can be achieved during the nine weeks and how taking up running can have such a positive impact on people's health and well-being.

"Many of those starting this programme are friends and family of previous beginners and have been inspired by them."

The programme is for complete beginners and also for people who have run in the past and want to make a running come back. It is run by Miles Wilson, who attended the course himself a couple of years ago.

Sarah Hutcheson, who was one of the 105 attending on Friday, said: “Chippenham Harriers are great club with members who are happy to invest time and effort to support you as an individual, to strengthen your potential in fitness.”

Participants are encouraged to run the 5K river run on Wednesday, July 2.

There is still time to join by attending today or on May 16.

Meet at the sports and social club in Bristol Road at 6.30pm. For more information, visit www.chippenhamharriers.co.uk