THE OXFORD MAIL's OX5 run may have been cancelled – victim to the coronavirus lockdown – but that didn't stop sporty fundraisers doing their bit for the Oxford Children's Hospital.

The five-mile run was due to take place yesterday morning in the scenic grounds of Blenheim Palace, but was called off as the scale of the pandemic, and resulting lockdown, became known.

However, more than 100 dedicated supporters sprinted, walked or jogged five miles in a ‘virtual’ OX5 hat has raised more than £30,000 for the unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

One runner, Christopher Miles from Witney, completed the five miles around his neighbourhood in just 38 minutes.

His two young sons built their own ‘OX5’ in their back garden that Mr Miles had to also complete in order to receive his medal and a much-needed rest.

He said: “It was great to get out this morning and take part.

“Having the local community behind the run is vital to helping support the Oxford Children’s Hospital Charity.

“It gave me an added boost when I heard cheering from houses when I ran past – and helped me to achieve a good time – however, I did not expect to have to complete the ‘mini-OX5 ’ when I returned home.”

While hundreds of people participate in the run because they wish to compete or just contribute to a good cause, some supporters have a more intimate connection with the organisation.

The Lomax family are no strangers to the Oxford Children’s Hospital, after their son Joseph, now aged 16, spent many months as a young child in the care of NHS staff after being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

This meant the family would spend up to two weeks every month in the hospital, which, over the years, has become a home away from home.

Both Joseph and his father Paul, completed the five miles together on a treadmill in their home.

Oxford Mail:

The OX5 run has been a key fixture in the Oxford Hospitals Charity fundraising calendar for almost 20 years, raising over a million pounds.

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Head of fundraising at the charity Eleanor Jones said that every year around 1,000 people took part in the challenge, with more than £150,000 raised to help young patients.

Oxford Mail:

Ms Jones said: "The event is not just about fundraising – it is a very special moment that brings together families, local people, NHS teams and the business community to celebrate the incredible Oxford Children’s Hospital, and all the areas in our NHS trust that care for young patients.

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“So, we wanted to give people the chance to still show their support and take part in something collective, albeit in a safe way.

“Across Oxfordshire many of our runners decided they still wanted to ‘take part’ and they tackled the five miles in their gardens and on treadmills – running alone, but together in spirit.”

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