A RACE which brings together the two sides of Oxford is starting a new fundraising mission after collecting over £1m for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

The Oxford Town & Gown 10km run celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and runners circling some of the most picturesque parts of the city helped the charity smash the £1m mark.

Now organisers are launching this year’s event, which takes place on Sunday, May 13, starting and ending in Parks Road, with a new target of £2m.

And even before the official launch, more than 1,000 runners have signed up.

Event organiser Alun Mainwaring said: “We have raised £1m in the first 30 years but as the event has grown massively, in another 10 years we could get it up to £2m.

“The event is raising more and more each year which is absolutely fantastic.

“Especially in the last three years, numbers have gone up tremendously.”

Last year 3,260 runners took part, and this year it is hoped that number will rise to 3,500.

It is hoped this year’s event, supported by the Oxford Mail, will bring in £120,000.

The run attracts a diverse range of participants, from serious club runners, to families with personal experience of muscular dystrophy and fun runners in fancy dress.

It has proved so successful that for the first time this year a Town & Gown race will be held in Cambridge, on Sunday, April 29.

Mr Mainwaring said: “When you think Town and Gown, where can you go next, it makes sense to go there. It is the success of the Oxford event that has led us to develop this new race.”

Over the years, the money has been spent on a number of projects in Oxford itself, including funding research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and a DNA study.

It has also paid for countless wheelchairs and aids for patients in the area who have the muscle-wasting condition.

Mr Mainwaring said: “We have so many links in Oxford with the charity. The money raised has paid for a lot of PhD studies here. People seem to support us really well and enjoy this race.”

Teams from Oxford University Press, Savills estate agents and Jesus and Merton colleges have already said they are interested in taking part.

  • To register for the run, email events@muscular-dystrophy.org or call 0207 803 4820