ORGANISERS have today announced this year's OX5 Run has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

The five-mile event in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, which is one of the biggest fundraisers for Oxford Children's Hospital, will not take place as planned on March 29.

But the hundreds who have signed up to take part in the event are being urged to still run their five miles near their homes and then send in photos and times.

It is hoped this will stop the hospital missing out on vital funds.

A statement from Oxford Hospitals Charity said: "We do this with real sadness – the run is such an important event for our charity and for the Oxford Children’s Hospital – but we feel that with the escalating coronavirus situation it is the right thing to do. We know you will understand.

"Although we won’t be gathering in person, you may still wish to ‘join us’ (if you’re able) by donning your number and running five miles in your local area on Sunday, March 29.

"Please share your photos and videos with us, and we’ll make sure your medal gets to you!  

"We would love to ensure that the very special sense of community and positive support that the event creates continues – so we would encourage you to share your personal run on social media using the hashtag #ox5run."

The charity asked those doing this to continue to fundraise for the hospital using the online pages created.

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Last year’s was one of the best ever for the The Oxford Mail OX5 with 1,100 runners raising £150,000 for the children’s hospital.

All money raised goes towards improving equipment and care at the Headington hospital, the children’s ward at the Horton General Hospital and the Paediatric Critical Care Unit.

We've been speaking to some of the incredible families who have been helped by Oxford Children's Hospital and were due to take part in this year's event, which is sponsored by Allen Associates.

There's Julia Spargo, from Bicester, who has been running the OX5 since just months after her daughter Beth Lee was born eight years ago.

She had a cleft palate, dislocated hips and breathing problems and doctors were not sure she would ever walk properly.

But thanks to a hip operation and regular visits to Oxford Children's Hospital Beth is now playing tennis, doing ballet and swimming.

Michelle Partlett, from Upper Heyford, meanwhile, was set to run the hospital fundraiser with husband Gareth, after the pair’s newborn son, Alfie, was born at 28 weeks and hospital staff became 'part of the family'.

When George Curtis was born he had contracted sepsis, meningitis, was fitting and had heart murmurs.

There was no guarantee he would survive but the 23-year-old is now healthy and was training to 'give something back' to the hospital that saved his life.

The hospital charity added: "The income from this event makes such a difference to our young patients and their families, so we are calling upon you to help us if you can.

"For those that are unable to do this, please let us know if you would like your entry fee, that covers our set up costs for the event, to be refunded or if you would like us to treat your entry fee as a donation to the Children’s Hospital."

"We are so sorry for the disappointment this cancellation will undoubtedly cause but thank you for supporting the Children’s Hospital and Oxford Hospitals Charity."

For more information please email or call 01865 743 444