KAYAKERS dressed as video game characters Mario and Luigi were among those to complete a marathon distance along the Oxford Canal and raise £24,000 for charity.

Employees of investment service Newcore Capital Management and invited guests kayaked 26.2 miles from Banbury to Oxford earlier this month to raise money for employment and rehabilitation charity Aspire.

The winners of the race were Ben Haynes and Tom Vecchione from Carter Jonas’ Oxford office who finished the route in less than seven hours.

After the event, a barbecue and party was held at the Jam Factory in Oxford.

Newcore Capital Management is aiming to raise at least £50,000 for Aspire over the course of 2018/19.

The charity creates work placement, training and employment opportunities for people struggling to get into work.

Hugo Llewelyn, managing director of Newcore, said: “This was a challenging, physical event on a beautiful stretch of water.

“I was delighted with the amount of money we raised.

“Aspire is a wonderful charity that helps disadvantaged people, who perhaps have been homeless or had a previous conviction or overcome an addiction, gain the experience, confidence, skills and employment they need to get back into full-time paid work.”