The sun eventually shone as about 5,000 runners set off on the Muscular Dystrophy UK Oxford Town and Gown 10k run this morning.

Professional athletes, fun runners, schools, club runners and enthusiastic joggers were on the start line in Parks Road for a 3k junior race and 10k adults’ race around the iconic sights of the city.

Oxford Mail:

Lord Mayor of Oxford Mark Lygo was doing the run for the first time having been a volunteer in the past.

He said: “It’s the only race I haven’t done in Oxford. It’s amazing that this is the 40th year, I’m just glad to be involved. And it’s great to see so many young people here today.

Oxford Mail:


“I’m a regular runner but I haven’t done any special training except swimming and cycling. I’m going to take it nice and gently."

Phil Grant, who helped start the race, has been involved as a volunteer for 34 years and run the race 25 times.

He said: “It’s a worthwhile charity and I want to raise awareness. But 10K is a long way. The worst bit? The first three steps! But I run for a bit, walk for a bit, as long as I get round.”

Instructors from Buzz Gym led a warm-up from the stage before the juniors set off at 9.15am.

Oxford Mail:

Caleb, 11, said before the race: "I'm nervous and excited. But I'm a park runner so it should be OK."

The red-faced juniors, including large teams from Summer Fields, MCS and Headington School, came back to collect medals and snacks.

One gasped: "That was hard."

The junior race was won by Harry Richards, 14, from Abingdon AC in 00:10:02.

Then it was the warm-up for the 10K with celebrity runner Vicky Thornley taking part.

The Welsh rower won a silver medal for Great Britain with Katherine Grainger in the women's double sculls at the 2016 Summer Olympics

For safety reasons, the runners set off in waves, starting at 10am.

Oxford Mail:

The event is one of the charity’s biggest fundraisers for those suffering muscle-wasting conditions.

Robin Ward, 58, was this year’s race starter, is raising awareness for her daughter’s rare condition as a manifesting carrier of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Her daughter, Lucy is now about to start her Fashion and Design at Bournemouth University.

Now 18, she has been battling with the extremely rare muscle dystrophy condition for five years.

Oxford Mail:

Mrs Ward said: “There is very little support for this condition as it is so rare. Women and girls are often underdiagnosed, so information from MDUK has been a lifeline from the day she received her diagnoses until today.

“Research is the only way that treatments and cures are going to be found. Taking part in events like this are a crucial part of this. By starting the Town and Gown Race, my goal is to fundraise for all manifesting carriers of DMD and find effective treatments and a cure for the condition.”

Oxford Mail:


Jessie Keighley, event project manager for the Oxford Town and Gown at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “We’re really excited to be bringing this event back to Oxford again this year and we’d like to thank all the runners.”