HUNDREDS descended on Bournemouth Pier this morning to take part in a 5k run organised and lead by popular fitness coach Joe Wicks.

The man who helped families keep fit during lockdown with his online classes was surrounded by a host of men, women and children at 7am outside Harry Ramsden’s restaurant for a run in the morning mist.

The 36-year-old delivered a few words amid posing for pictures before setting off on the run towards Boscombe just moments after the clock struck 7am.

Prior to the run, Wicks said that it would take approximately 35 minutes at a “nice pace”. Several runners steamed ahead, arriving back outside the pier’s fish and chip restaurant just after 7.20am.

Around 10 minutes later, Wicks along with dozens of followers were met with applause and cheers as they jogged their way to the finish line.

In a final thank you, Wicks stood aloft on a railing and praised the hundreds of runners who took part and said that he would “be back”.

Speaking after the run, Joe Wicks told the Echo: “I did the first one in Glasgow and 30 people turned up, then I did it in Manchester where about a hundred people turned up. So I knew it would be a bit bigger as word got out but I could never imagine nearly one thousand people and it was really quite overwhelming.

“I haven’t been around that many people before and it was quite intense so I focused on my running, took a few selfies with people and capped it off with a dip in the sea.”

Bournemouth man Dan Grey said: “I loved it. I haven’t done a run this early before as I usually prefer running at night but I have to say, this is really refreshing. Getting up was the hard part but I’m glad I did it.

“I did most of [Joe Wicks’] lockdown sessions and that’s what motivated me to come out today.”

Friends Rachel and Sophie also took part in the run. When asked what made them take part, Rachel quickly replied “seeing Joe Wicks”.

Bournemouth Echo: Friends Rachel and Sophie took part in Joe Wicks' 5k run along Bournemouth beachFriends Rachel and Sophie took part in Joe Wicks' 5k run along Bournemouth beach

The friends laughed before Rachel said: “But in all seriousness it’s Sophie’s first running event and it was brilliant. It doesn’t matter how fast you are, you just keep going.”

Sophie said: “Rachel needed something special to drag me out to do a 5k run at 7am. I wasn’t right at the back and Rachel was very patient with me, as was Joe. Very pleased to have done it.”

Rachel, a regular marathon runner, added: “It was so lovely, look how many people turned out to see him and get involved – it’s just great. I think more incentives like this from our council would be brilliant.”