HUNDREDS of people were caked in paint as a colourful fun run came to Witney for the first time.

Participants in the town's maiden colour run were covered from head to toe while they negotiated the 5k course at Witney Rugby Club on Monday.

Several 'paint stations' were set up at regular intervals along the route, with runners forced to confront the flurry of colour head-on.

Although the heat was not a factor, windy conditions turned the paint storm into a blizzard - but participants faced the challenge with a smile throughout.

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The event was organised by Witney Rotary Club and Martyn Cox, one of the organisers, called it an 'unmitigated success'.

He said: "It was all about having fun.

"It got a little windier as the morning went on, which meant things got a little bit interesting as paint was flying everywhere.

"We'd have liked it to be a bit warmer but it helped the people who were running that distance for the first time, including children and families."

Colour runs, also known as the 'happiest 5km on the planet', have exploded in recent years to become the largest running series in the world.

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The 500 runners, the maximum amount of entries allowed by the rotary club, were put through a warm-up as the sun peeped through the clouds.

Four zones fired red, blue, yellow and green paint powder at runners, as their white t shirts gradually turned into a rainbow of colour.

Some participants walked, danced and skipped the course, while a few enthusiastic parents even pushed buggies.

Runners bought into the race's themes of health, happiness and friendship as a joyful atmosphere took hold.

The rotary club ran this year's event in aid of Oxford hospice Helen and Douglas House, while proceeds will also go to a selection of charities supported by the organisation.

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Mr Cox revealed the rotary club had not yet counted the exact total raised, but he expected the total to be a 'reasonable amount'.

He added: "We didn't set a target amount to raise, but I'm sure next year we'll try to beat it."

Witney Rotary Club organises several popular events in West Oxfordshire every year, including Witney Carnival, the Wychwood Forest Fair and the historic Witney Feast.