MORE than 1,000 fundraisers will gather in the grounds of Blenheim Palace tomorrow for this year’s OX5 Run.

The charity five-mile challenge in Woodstock is expected to be the biggest ever, with 1450 people signed up to raise money for Oxford Children’s Hospital.

The run, which starts at 10.30am on Sunday, March 30, is the hospital’s biggest annual fundraiser.

This year is the 12th run, organised by the Oxford Mail and sponsored by recruitment consultants Allen Associates.

Last year’s run raised a record-breaking £98,000 for new equipment, machinery and toys.

A total of 959 runners crossed the finish line.

Children’s hospital spokesman Sarah Vaccari said: “We cannot thank the Oxfordshire community enough for their support for the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

“Those taking part — many of whom are parents who have children treated at the hospital — have been training through a very wet and windy winter.

“We thank every single one of them for their hard work and wish them all the best tomorrow.

“We are really hopeful that having so many runners this year will mean we raise over £100,000 to support our young patients.

“One final reminder – the clocks go forward tonight – if you are taking part in the OX5 please don’t forget to set your alarm!”

Among the starters at the palace will be mum-of-one Vicky Harris, who says her life was saved by doctors when she was six. Miss Harris was diagnosed with a rare condition called Henoch-Schönlein purpura which meant her immune system attacked her own body.

She had a bowel operation in 1997 in the children’s ward of the John Radcliffe Hospital, before the new Oxford Children’s Hospital opened on the same Headington site in 2007.

The mum-of-one, 25, said: “I remember being in a lot of pain in hospital and being taught there as well because I was in and out for about a year.

“Now I have Alfie and there is a new children’s hospital I think it’s really important to raise money so the facilities keep getting better and better.

“Knowing they have got the best equipment is very comforting so you know your child would have the best experience possible if they need it.”

Miss Harris, a beauty therapist from Hundred Acres Close in Headington, has already raised almost £200. She is ready to take on the OX5 Run with her brother Ryan Oak, 17.


Schedule on the day

  • Clocks go forward one hour on Saturday night.
  • Blenheim Palace gates open at 8.30am for runners and supporters.
  • A zumba-style warm-up will be held at 10am.
  • The run starts at 10.30am.