HUNDREDS of runners braved the heat to take part on the gruelling Paras’ 10 course.

Soldiers and civilians ran side by side around the 10-mile route through the barracks and Friday Woods today.

The race is a replica of one of the fitness tests people must complete in an hour and 50 minutes before they can join the Parachute Regiment.

Runners also had to make it past water obstacles and troops were located around the course throwing smoke grenades and firing guns to add to the atmosphere.

More than 750 took part in the race today and about 250 of them were civilians.

Major Adam Wilson, one of the organisers of the event, said: “It is a very hard course.

“Doing ten miles in this weather is difficult.

"It's been really sunny which is great for spectators but not so great for the runners.”

Some of the participants took on the race as a Tabber, wearing boots, trousers and a 35lb rucksack.

Money raised through entrance fees went to The Parachute Regiment Charity, which supports paras and their families, but runners were free to collect sponsorship for other charities.

The first runner across the line was Adam Lloyd, who was back in 1 hour 4 minutes and Lance Corporal Tom Kaye, of Colchester-based 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was the first tabber to finish in 1 hour 19 minutes.

See tomorrow's Gazette for a full picture spread and more stories from the day.