THOUSANDS across the country ran in a national ‘virtual race’ in memory of PC Andrew Harper who was killed on duty on August 15.

Running groups in Bicester were amongst those taking part on Monday and took to the town’s pavements, fields and streets in honour of the 28-year-old officer who was based at Abingdon.

West Yorkshire Police officer PC Sam Swift, who is part of running group, Trail Snails in Bingley, came up with the idea, which allowed people to take part wherever they were.

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The challenge was to run 7.605 km in recognition of the officer’s shoulder number, 7605.

Runners had to register and pay a £6 entry fee to participate.

Tina Hawkins, 42, from Bicester, ran in the scorching hot weather.

She said: “It was very warm but it was well worth our slight discomfort to say thank you to PC Harper.”

So far, participants around the country have raised more than £24,000 for the Just Giving page of PC Harper and Care of Police Survivors (COPS) - the UK charity for supporting families of police officers who have lost their lives on duty.

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Another runner, Katy Andrews, 48, from Bicester, who is a member of Alchester Running Club and event director at Bicester Parkrun, said: “Everyone participated in their own way, and some that couldn’t run, supported in other ways such as a cheer squad and cakes

“The tragic death of PC Harper has shocked the country, but if something good can come out of this sad event, it is that money can be raised to help very worthy causes.”

Andrea Walford, from Bicester, who works at Thames Valley Police, also ran in the scorching heat on Monday.

She said: “It was an honour to run to remember Andrew. To show support for his family, friends and colleagues.

"It was a hot, but pleasant run with time to reflect.”

Sophie Grose, 24, a runner from Bicester, said: “It was a lovely run.

"I feel it was a way of giving back to those who give so much for others, to remember those lost and a small thank you to all police and staff.”

ALSO READ: Man charged with murder of PC Andrew Harper denies all involvement

Jed Foster, 20, of Burghfield, Reading has been charged with PC Harper's murder and is set to stand trial.