RUNNERS braved the lashing rain today as they took on the 2019 Oxford Half Marathon.

Approximately 10,000 people registered to take part in the ninth annual half marathon to take to Oxford’s streets.

The Met Office had predicted light rain for the day as the weekend began, but as Sunday morning rolled around it was clear competitors were going to have more than they bargained for from the weather.

AS IT HAPPENED: Our live coverage from the Oxford Half Marathon 2019

Despite the heavy downpour, spirits were high among runners.

First-time half marathon runner Izzy Adamson travelled from London for the race and was not bothered about the rain.

Ahead of the race, she said: “I feel like it’s going to keep us cool today and if I fall into a puddle it might be entertaining.”

Oxford Mail:

Picture: Ed Nix.

Also taking on the race through the rain was half marathon veteran, Lucie Brownsill, from Abingdon.

She last ran the Oxford Half in the rain in 2013.

She said: “It was horrible then,” and resigned herself to getting wet again.

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There were some colourful costumes on display for the 2019 race, including a Yellow Submarine worn by Louise Brown of Abingdon, who was supporting local charity Yellow Submarines.

The charity works with people who have learning difficulties and autism.

Oxford Mail:

Picture: Ed Nix.

Also running for a good cause was Paul Royl, who travelled from Devon to take part on behalf of the Lily Foundation.

The charity works to fund research and care for people with mitochondrial diseases.

Mr Royl’s niece Ellie Mae Muir died of a mitochondrial disease at only nine months old last year.

He said: “This is about raising money and raising awareness of these genetic conditions.”

There was also a good mood among crowds on the barricades at this year’s race, who chatted with one another from under their rain-soaked hoods and umbrellas about their family members and friends who where running.

Oxford Mail:

Spectators braving the rain. Picture: Ed Nix.

This year’s race champions were Alex Milne for the men, who finished the race in 1hr, 7mins and 31secs; and Stephanie Davis for the women, who finished in 1hr, 12mins and 57secs.

It was Alex Milne’s third Oxford Half.

He said: “I finished second here twice before so really pleased to come back and get the win! It’s a great course. Amazing for PB’s. I’ve run a personal best on this route twice now.”

Stephanie Davis won the Hackney Half two years ago and was pleased to have won Virgin Sport’s two half marathon races.

She said: “Thank you to everyone that came to support us, it was a huge boost especially in this weather.”

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Race organisers Virgin Sport made a commitment towards sustainability this year by replacing plastic water bottles with recyclable cups of water for runners.

According to Virgin, the Oxford Half is now the largest race outside of London to go plastic-free.

Oxford Mail:

Picture: Ed Nix.

This year’s route was similar to the 2018 half marathon, and started off in Oxford City Centre, passing by the city’s museums, universities, and parks.

The race then crossed over the River Cherwell, out into Old Marston village, and back past the University Colleges, before finishing back in the city centre on Parks Road.

Most runners had finished by midday and made it across the finish line to receive medals.