A TEAM of 23 German relay runners received a warm welcome in their twin town Winchester after completing a 835km challenge.

The runners, from Giessen, were greeted by the German flag flying from the Guildhall after running from the German town to Winchester over nine days.

Their route took them through Holland, Belgium and France before their final stretch along the South Downs Way.

They were joined for the last 20km on Friday by members of the Winchester and District Running Club and by participants of Winchester’s weekly parkrun.

The Giessen runners were also welcomed to the Winchester parkrun on Saturday to help celebrate the 14th anniversary of parkrun UK.

Mayor Cllr Frank Pearson, who was at the finish line in Abbey Gardens and hosted a buffet to mark their arrival, said: “It was an honour to welcome these fantastic guests into our city.

“It is particularly special that they originate from our German twin town of Giessen – a relationship we have been very proud of since 1962. We hope they enjoy the wonderful sights that Winchester has to offer.”