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OX5 2013: It's the best yet
BATMAN and Robin were not the only superheroes at the annual OX5 Run yesterday.
All the nearly 1,000 people taking part in the annual Oxford Children’s Hospital fundraiser made a heroic effort to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the cause.
And their hard work made this year’s event the most successful ever.
More than 960 people braved freezing conditions and strong winds to finish the five-mile course around Blenheim Palace in Woodstock.
The 11th annual event was started by chef Raymond Blanc, Oxfordshire Olympian Hannah England and star of TV’s Brain Doctors Dr Jay Jayamohan.
And at 11am runners of all ages and abilities cheered as an airhorn sounded and the race got under way in the magnificent palace grounds.
This year there were more than 50 teams taking part. The largest, Team H, was made up of 32 children’s hospital patients’ parents and their friends. At least a dozen runners donned costumes for the race, dressing up as Batman and Robin, a pair of Where’s Wallies and even a giant octopus.
This year’s winning time belonged to 37-year-old Les Newell, head of Radley College’s sports centre, who managed the dash in 28 minutes, 14 seconds.
Not far behind was the first female runner Natalie Babington, 28, who lives in Thame and took on the course for the very first time.
Mr Newell said: “It was hard work but a lot of fun. There are some killer hills and the wind made it harder, so I’m surprised I won.”
Last year the run managed to raise more than £60,000 for the children’s hospital and organisers said they were hoping to beat 2012’s record.
The money went towards paying for a state-of-the art eye scanner, a device to mention lung function in children, and a portable ventilator.
Gareth Keymer, from Harwell, ran with a group of family and friends after his twin sons Gethin and Iestyn, both five, received life-saving treatment at the hospital.
Mr Keymer, 35, said: “The twins were both born premature at 24 weeks.
“Gethin was in the baby unit for seven months and everyone at the hospital was absolutely brilliant.
“It’s such a good cause and we all want to raise as much as we can.”
Dale Harris has taken part in every single OX5 Run to thank the hospital for looking after his 10-year-old daughter Mya, who has spina bifida. Mr Harris, from Normandy Crescent, Cowley, said: “We usually raise between £1,200 and £1,400 and it’s always a great event.
“The atmosphere is amazing and everyone is here for the right reasons.”
After starting the race for the third time, chef Mr Blanc said: “This year we had more people take part than ever before, which is just fantastic. The money raised here goes straight to the hospital and I have seen what a difference it makes.”
The race was organised by the Oxford Mail and sponsored by Oxford-based recruitment firm Allen Associates.
There was a delay to the start because of the unprecedented turn-out of runners and spectators and a few cars had issues with muddy conditions.
Spokeswoman for the children’s hospital, Sarah Vaccari, said: “We would like to thank everyone for their patience and for making this year’s run such an amazing and successful event.”
RESULTS & PICTURES: P14-19