THOUSANDS of runners will make history by taking part in Oxford's first ever virtual Town and Gown race.

For 38 years the klaxon has started the 10km charity run around the city streets.

This year, more than 6,000 people signed up to join in.

But now, because of the coronavirus lockdown stopping people from different households going within an arm's reach of each other, the race is impossible.

So, inspired by people running marathons in their gardens, the team at Muscular Dystrophy UK will be hosting the Town and Gown virtually instead.

Read more: pictures show last years event

For one month until May 6, runners can take part in the online event by signing up, running 10k however and wherever they want and then uploading the date and time they took part as proof.

When the offices at the charity then reopen, once the coronavirus lockdown has been lifted, the runners will all be sent a medal – as they would have done for the crossing the real finish line.

Among those already planning to take part in the 'lockdown run' is Adam Smith, who signed up to do four laps of the 10km course but will now be leading the way in the virtual race instead.

Race director Jessie Keighley said: "The beauty of a 'virtual' race is that we are no longer tied to one location.

"So if you know of friends and family up and down the county who would like to join in, then get them to register."

Ms Keighley also said that the charity could use the funds raised by the annual race now more than ever.

She said: "Coronavirus has left us battling to fill a £2.8m gap in our funding from lost events just at the moment when the people we help are in real need of our support.”

Last year around 5,000 people signed up to take part in the Oxford Town and Gown – the biggest number in it history.

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BBC presenter Gabby Logan, the president of the charity, sounded the starting klaxon to get the race under way.

Usually, Oxford University Parks plays host to the start line, and the picturesque route then takes people around the city centre.

This year, the junior 3km and adult 10km race will all be done from gardens, treadmills and parks across the county.

The race is funded and organised by Muscular Dystrophy UK, which works to beat muscle-wasting conditions by giving practical support and pointing people in the right direction for health care.

In 2019 Joseph Smith, 23, won the race in 31.41 minutes, 20 seconds faster than 2018’s best time.

The charity has also launched another event in a bid to raise more cash for the good cause.

Though the exact details have not yet been announced, the idea is that everybody – regardless of their fitness levels – can take part in this one.

On Sunday, May 3, the event will be coming to the homes of residents with an online fundraising event hosted by Bollywood entertainer Jay Kumar.

Called the Town and Dressing Gown, it will encourage people to stay in their comfy clothes to raise some cash.

Anybody who has already registered to run the Town and Gown event will be sent a link inviting them to take part online and telling them the rules.

The team added: “Stay safe. Please keep supporting us. And get involved because muscles matter, now more than ever.”

To sign up for this year's Town and Gown, visit