'If I can do OX5 so can others'

Oxford Mail: GOOD CAUSE: Sarah Vaccari with her daughter Rosa GOOD CAUSE: Sarah Vaccari with her daughter Rosa

BEFORE I first took part in the OX5 Run I didn’t ‘do’ running writes Sarah Vaccari, who helps organise the OX5.

“But like so many of those who join the annual fun run there was something extra that was motivating me.

“My two-year-old daughter, Rosa, was about to have heart surgery at the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

“I started with a basic training scheme — walk to lamp post, run to lamp post — it was the image of her great big smile that made me pull on my trainers and actually get out the door.

“As the weeks passed, I found the exercise and time to myself became important and helped me manage the worries and stresses you have as a parent waiting for your child to have a major operation.

“A group of my friends also signed up and we entered as a village team called the Benson Bolters.

“I’ll never forget the support they gave me and how special the atmosphere at beautiful Blenheim on the day of the run was.

“I now work for the hospital’s charity and I’m hugely involved with the run every year.

“The level of support we get never ceases to amaze me — some wonderful individuals have run every year since the event started back in 2002 when we were fundraising to build the children’s hospital.

“The atmosphere at each run is really special, there are teams of medical staff — often in fancy dress — teams from all sorts of local businesses, lots of families who have children being treated, often supported by huge groups of friends and hundreds of individuals just out to support a great local cause.

“It really doesn’t matter how fast you are, although for those who like a challenge there are some fabulous cups up for grabs for the fastest teams and individuals.

“What really matters with this event is raising thousands of pounds for the children’s hospital and helping to make the hospital experience that little bit easier for local children and their families.

“Five years on from my first OX5 Run, I am lucky to have a very healthy child and, working here, I’m also privileged to see the different this event makes every day to children within the hospital.

“So much of the very latest medical equipment and ground-breaking research as well many of the items that make the hospital a more comfortable and happier place are funded by the charity and events like the OX5.

“So, if I can run five miles I know that most of you reading this can too. So please sign up today.

“Run five miles and raise big smiles for the Oxford Children’s Hospital.”

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