A SEA of red ran through the grounds of Blenheim Palace as thousands of runners took on its 10th annual British Heart Foundation half marathon and fund runs.

The 4,000 runners laced up their trainers and donned their red charity shirts to stride with pride round the palace grounds on Sunday.

The soggy Sunday weather did its best to dampen spirits but competitors defiantly powered through the half marathon, 10k and 2K fun run.

Among those running the half marathon was Cheryl Torrington inspired by the care her husband having had open heart surgery.

The 46 year old, who is stepmother to four, happy left husband Mark Torrington with the title of 'the runner of the Brackley household.

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She would photograph Mr Torrington at Brackley and District Running Club, before later joining herself.

But it was after tackling Snowdonia Marathon in October 2018 that Mr Torrington developed a cold and was having night sweats.

Mrs Torrington said: "On Boxing Day, we went for walk to our local pub for food. Mark had no energy - he was sweating and shaking and could hardly walk. I was really worried and persuaded him to go to the doctors.”

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Mr Torrington was diagnosed at Banbury's Horton Hospital with an infection in his heart valves known as infective endocarditis.

It meant he had to undergo open heart surgery on July 11 to have a double valve replacement and aorta repairs.

Speaking on her inspiration to take part in Sunday's event, Mrs Torrington said: "I saw an advert and just felt I should be involved. I’m not a runner, but I’m doing it for Mark."

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Mrs Torrington has raised almost £1,000 herself for the run, and organisers expect overall it helped raise £300,000 in total for the British Heart Foundation.

Leanne Postlethwaite BHF event manager said: “Without the dedication and commitment of our inspiring runners, we wouldn’t be able to fund research that will end the devastation caused by heart and circulatory disease once and for all."

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