PM sends message to Town & Gown runners

Teacher Toby Watkins and fellow runners from Batholemew School

Teacher Toby Watkins and fellow runners from Batholemew School

First published in Oxford Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

Thousands of runners will be limbering up on the starting line for the annual Oxford Town and Gown race tomorrow.

About 3,300 people are expected to pound the city’s streets for the 10km run in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

Many of those taking part have personal reasons for supporting the charity, while others are keen to test themselves on the fast, flat course.

Even Prime Minister David Cameron has put his backing behind the event.

He said: “Good luck to all the runners in the Oxford Town and Gown 10km run.

“I hope you all have a fantastic event – run well and raise lots of money in the process for such a good cause.”

Among those taking part will be 13 members of staff and six pupils from Bartholomew School, Eynsham.

For head of geography Toby Watkins, it will be his 10th time around the course.

He said: “I’m a keen runner and I pretty much pressured everyone else into doing it and made them feel guilty for being unfit and unhealthy.

“Most of the people who are doing it this time are not necessarily keen runners, but they are keen to get involved for the charity aspect.

“The atmosphere at the event is fantastic, huge amounts of people turn out to egg you on.”

Television chat show personality Christine Hamilton will be starting the race.

The 62-year-old wife of former MP Neil Hamilton said: “This time last year I clambered up mountains in Peru to raise money for the charity, but this weekend I have no intention of exerting myself at all, beyond firing the starting gun.

“It’s heartwarming to see so many people coming together in this way for such a good cause and I am really looking forward to being with everyone on Sunday and sending them on their way around the glorious streets of Oxford.”

It will be the 31st Town and Gown run, and the race has so far raised £1m for the charity.

Event organiser Alun Mainwaring said: “After tornadoes and everything else that’s gone on in the last week, it looks like we might have a dry weekend for running.

“It is a fast course but we’re still yet to have anyone go under 30 minutes. It could happen this year because the conditions are looking good.

“There is such a nice atmosphere around the starting line, but it is also really well supported around the city, with people coming out from shops and houses to support runners all the way round.”

The run starts and ends at University Parks, with the main race starting at 10am and a junior race at 9.30am.People can sign up on the day.


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2:37am Sun 13 May 12


He must be getting desperate for votes. What next a good luck message to the Chadlington dog Show.
He must be getting desperate for votes. What next a good luck message to the Chadlington dog Show. LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG
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