RUNNERS took over Oxford’s historic streets this morning to raise money to help those with devastating muscle wasting conditions.

Nearly 4,500 people took part in the 38th annual Town and Gown, organised by charity Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Oxford Mail:

Starting in South Parks Road, participants raced past the city’s famous landmarks before finishing the 10km course in University Parks.

BBC presenter Gabby Logan, the president of the charity, sounded the starting klaxon to get the race under way.

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She said: “I cover the London Marathon every year and there is a special feeling there which I can sense here too.

“There’s so much positivity at an event like this.

Oxford Mail:

“Muscular dystrophy tends to affect more boys than girls and I’ve got a young, active son myself. For the families who are told they have these cruel conditions, I can’t imagine how hard it is.

“But this charity has changed so many lives over 60 years and hopes to change many more with the research it is funding, a lot of which takes place here in Oxford.”

Joseph Smith, 23, won the race in 31.41 minutes, 20 seconds faster than last year’s best time.

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The fastest woman home was Diane Foster, of Headington Road Runners, who completed the run in exactly 37 minutes. 

Mr Smith, who studied in Oxford before moving to Cambridge, said: “I expected to come near the front but wasn’t sure if I would win it.

“It’s a tough course and it’s a hot day which made it all the more difficult.”

Oxford Mail:

Further back in the field was John Chelsom from Summertown running dressed as a minion.

He completed the London Marathon two weeks ago in the same outfit and plans to run the RunJericho 10k on June 16.

He said: “It is quite tricky to run in, especially when it’s hot like today.

“I can’t really take on water because there is no way of getting it in.

“It’s also quite difficult to see where I am going.”

Oxford Mail:

Headington School had one of the largest teams taking part with 90 runners signed up.

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Headmistress Caroline Jordan said that they had a mix of staff, current students and former pupils who had travelled back from across the country to join in.

She said: “We have been doing it since 2015 and we get more and more every year.

“It’s so lovely to see the whole community come together.”

Oxford Mail:

This year’s special guests were the Brown family from Barry in South Wales whose four-year-old Rhodri was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy earlier this year.

After the diagnosis dad James, 38, convinced his parents Dean and Beverley Griffiths, from North London, to join him in their first ever charity runs, raising £2,000 in the process.

The event was sponsored by Newton, a Kingston Bagpuize-based consultancy firm.