THE gun has been fired for next year’s Oxford Mail OX5 Run.

Organisers have announced that the five-mile fundraiser at Blenheim Palace will get under way on Sunday, April 17.

Online registration has already opened and runners can now sign up for a place on the start line.

The 1,001 runners who braved the elements at this year’s OX5 raised more than £100,000 for the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

Since the first run in 2003 more than £850,000 has been raised for medical equipment, toys, games and specialist nurses to help those using the hospital have a more comfortable stay.

The event earlier this year fell just short of the record-breaking 2014 Blenheim Palace run which raised £114,000.

Director of fundraising Jayne Ozanne urged people to join in the fun for a good cause.

She said: “We are delighted to launch the Oxford Mail OX5 and are really looking forward to seeing as many people taking part as possible. Whether you want to run it, walk it, skip it or push a buggy, we hope the community will continue to show its support for the Oxford Children’s Hospital and sign up today.”

Funding from the run helps a number of areas at the hospital, which treats about 60,000 patients a year.

The £106,000 raised from March’s run has already been put to good use on a number of items and initiatives.

A family room has been set up in paediatric critical care for the loved ones of some of the hospital’s most poorly patients.

Specialist equipment has been bought to examine children’s eyes without the use of anaesthetics and money has been put towards a speech therapy team for children with cleft palate conditions.

Funds have also helped play specialists who care for children during their stay at the hospital.

Play specialist Klarissa Burrows said: “We always like to get behind the OX5 Run and many of us take part because it’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for the children’s hospital. We know the run makes a huge difference helping us to buy extra equipment.

“Those extras make the hospital warm and friendly for children and their families.”

George Stanley, 11, from Ducklington, spent time in the hospital last month with a burst appendix.

The Henry Box School pupil said: “I’ve never really been in hospital before so I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be like Casualty, but it’s actually been quite fun. I really like the outside play areas and there’s lots to do, like arts and crafts with the play specialists.”

He added: “The nurses are really nice. They make you laugh a lot and they are good at making you not notice when something painful is being done, like having blood tests.”

The OX5 is being sponsored by Oxford-based recruitment firm Allen Associates for the eighth year running.

The company always puts a team forward to run and this year encouraged more businesses to get involved.

Managing director Kate Allen said: “We are thrilled to be involved in the OX5 Run again this year and are already enjoying making preparations for what we know will be a really successful and enjoyable event.

“The OX5 Run is the highlight of our year – it brings our team together and we enjoy the healthy competition and the daily training stories as everyone prepares.”


You can sign up by going to

Click 'enter now' and if you have not taken part before you will have to set up an account with a username and password. You can then create a team to run with friends and colleagues, join an existing team or run as an individual. It costs £15 to enter - with proceeds going to the charity - and it is suggested each team member aims to raise at least £100.