TOMORROW is the final day to sign up online to the Oxford Mail’s OX5 Run for Oxford Children’s Hospital.

More than 1,100 runners have signed up to be on the start line on Sunday, and with entries closing at quarter to midnight tomorrow there is a real race on to beat last year’s 1,200 entrants.

Andy Lawson, from Didcot will be among those ready to run at Blenheim Palace this Sunday.

His five-year-old son Jon-Paul Lawson was born with Down’s Syndrome and a heart condition that saw him undergo open heart surgery at just eight months old.

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Mr Lawson, who has decided to lace up his boots for the staff at Oxford Children’s Hospital, said: “We have been in the children’s ward I don’t know how many times.

“They are always very sympathetic and let us stay with him.

“Doing the run feels like I’m giving something back to them and raising money to make sure they can continue the great care they give.

“I also get something out of it myself because I love running.”

The vehicle technician from Didcot and his wife Nina knew their son would have Down’s Syndrome and a heart condition before his birth and said the staff helped the couple prepare.

He said: “The Children’s Hospital knew so early in my wife’s pregnancy we could get ourselves ready for what was going to happen.

“The staff have been great in supporting us with that, and we have used the hospital a lot.”

The Lawsons nominated Rowena Pearce, a specialist Down’s Syndrome nurse for an Oxford Mail Hospital Heroes award, which she won in 2013. The 34-year-old added: “From our point of view it’s the support and her knowledge that has been brilliant.

“That is not necessarily medical help.

“It’s her experience, particularly when it comes to things like children with special needs.

“It’s not easy for new parents to know what to expect but we’ve become close with Rowena. She’s been fantastic.”

Oxford Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Sarah Vaccari said: “We are delighted that Andy is joining us at the OX5 Run this Sunday.

“It makes such a difference to this event to have parents and children from the hospital taking part and cheering runners on.

“We really hope Jon-Paul and his parents will inspire others to sign up now.

“You can run or walk the five miles, but please put your efforts into your sponsorship and help raise big smiles when you run.”

More than 1,170 people have already signed up for the run on Sunday and there is still time for the event to beat last year’s 1,200 entrants.

The run will be started by Oxford- born former Arsenal and England footballer Martin Keown and nine-year-old Magnus Cameron – a former patient of the children’s hospital.

Online entries for the race, sponsored by Oxford recruitment firm Allen Associates for the seventh year running, are set to close at a 11.45pm on tomorrow. You can enter here.