The fun run has grown since it was first launched in 2002 to become a much-loved and highly successful local fundraising event attracting individuals, families and business teams. Over the years it has raised more than £1m to fund state of the art medical equipment and support projects for children in hospital.
Kate Allen, Managing Director at Allen Associates, said: “We have been the lead sponsor of the OX5 RUN for the last 12 years and are proud to be able to support this incredible event again in 2021.
“This past year has caused us all to reflect on what’s truly important and in many ways the OX5 RUN embodies this, bringing people together to raise funds to ensure that seriously ill children and their families receive the best possible care and support.
“While the format for 2021’s event will be different with everyone walking or running in their own local areas, the ethos remains the same and we are delighted to be involved and to continue to do our bit for our local community.”
Like so many events, the OX5 RUN had to be cancelled in 2020 just weeks before it was due to take place at Blenheim Palace, although a number of runners still ran in their local areas.
This year’s event – taking place on Sunday 28 March – will also be virtual, with runners and walkers asked to complete five miles close to their homes.
Gail Williams, from Oxford Hospitals Charity, said: “Online registration for the OX5 RUN is now open and we are calling on people across Oxfordshire to sign up today and support this important local event.
“It is of course disappointing that for the second year running we can’t be at beautiful Blenheim Palace for the run, but we know we can still make it a really special day that brings people together – albeit online.
“There will be a virtual warm up, messages of support from young patients and hospital staff, your own runner’s number and of course a medal sent to you on completion.
“We ask you to run or walk on your own or as a household, but you can still enter and fundraise as a team, and compete together for the various cups on offer.
“This event is usually our biggest fundraiser of the year for the Children’s Hospital and with the support of our local community we really hope can still raise as much as possible to make a difference to the thousands of children looked after by our hospital teams.”
Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Andrew Pollard - leading the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trials - is a regular OX5 runner. He also works as a consultant at the Oxford Children’s Hospital and has already pledged his support for the event, saying he will run the five miles on Sunday 28 March.
He said: “We have all been in the same team, in a race together to beat the pandemic and I am looking forward to the virtual race on 28th March to raise some money for local children in hospital.”
Another OX5 regular is Julia Spargo from Bicester. Julia’s daughter, Beth, was born with dislocated hips, breathing problems and a cleft palate, with doctors unsure if she would ever be able to walk.
Julia has entered the event for the past ten years, with a team of friends and family calling themselves ‘Beth’s Bees’ all dressed in stripy yellow, to thank the NHS staff for Beth’s care.
She explains: “I started running the OX5 when Beth was a few months old. As she gets older she is more and more able to do things we weren’t sure she ever would and that’s why we still support the hospital charity and enter the run every year. It’s a thank you for all the care she’s had, and continues to receive, from the JR and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.
“It’s such a fun event and we hope to bring that fun again to a virtual version. I’ve already had people contacting me saying they are keen to be involved. This will be my 10th year taking part, I wouldn’t miss it.”
It costs £10 for adults to enter the virtual OX5 RUN, £5 for children. You can enter as an individual or create a team of five or more to compete for various cups of offer.
Register here at: https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/OxfordMailOX5