AMID the throng of thousands of runners panting past the dreaming spires on Sunday was a team united in support of an Oxford hospice.

Another record number of Sobell House fundraisers set out at the weekend for the Oxford Half Marathon, totalling about 160 of the 8,600 participants.

Tim Wraith, corporate partnerships manager at the Headington hospice, was responsible for rallying runners on the day - and then tackled the 13.1 miles himself.

He said: "We had a great day and there was a mixture of people running - it was about half and half of local supporters with a close connection with Sobell House, and corporate supporters.

"Some people had lost family members or close friends at Sobell.

"For some that was quite raw, in the last few weeks - one had only lost his dad about a month ago and was running in his memory."

Numbers were up from more than 100 running for the hospice in last year's event.

Cancer Research UK was the lead charity partner for the Oxford Half, but Mr Wraith said he understood that Sobell had the largest representation of a local charity.

He said taking part in an active challenge can be cathartic for those still coming to terms with a loss.

He added: "One person said she would be thinking of her cousin as she ran along.

"Lots of people get their inspiration from doing something like that.

"Some of our runners were very avid runners, and some hadn't done much at all. Those who trained truly go that extra mile to do well."

Oxfordshire-based businesses with representatives running included electrical engineering company Darke and Taylor, construction company Beard, gas and electricity supplier Opus Energy and research company Oxford Instruments.

Barefoot Oxford bakery also sent its co-owner to run and supplied cakes for fellow Sobell fundraisers to refuel with after crossing the finish line.

The hospice hoped to raise £25,000 thanks to its runners, and is on track to exceed that target.

Mr Wraith said that was a significant sum of money, adding that large events help to engage supporters who might not have fundraised for for Sobell before.

He said there could be future plans to build a running club especially for the Sobell House community, to encourage wellbeing and fitness.

Many Oxfordshire businesses support Sobell - some opt to join the 40 Club, a network of its corporate partners.

Each member pledges to raise a minimum of £10,000 over a period of four years.

Others show their support by naming the hospice as its charity of the year or hosting a fundraiser in its name.

Mr Wraith said: "It is such a great thing for a local business to get together and do.

"It's like a team-building event."