Oxford runs this Town

Two weeks on from the London Mara­thon, Sunday 10th May was Oxford’s turn to capitalise on the running bug. Nearly 4,000 runners took to the streets for the Town and Gown 10k through the city centre, many more lining the streets to cheer on their friends, family and fellow students.

Starting outside Keble, runners got to en­joy a tour of the city’s most historic sites on traffic-free roads, looping round to Magdalen and back up to St Giles via Cornmarket Street, before finishing in the University Parks. At not quite a half marathon, it’s a challenging but far from overly gruelling trial for most runners, with costumes abounding.

Miles Unterreiner put in the fastest time of the day, with a highly impressive 31:23, a minute in front of his closest rival. Having taken BUCS 10k silver last week, Unterreiner seems to be enjoying an excellent run of form at the moment.

The first woman home was Sophie Carter, of Belgrave AC, who took her third victory in this race in the last five years, clocking in at 36:32.

Much as with the London Marathon, to look only at the frontrunners is to misjudge the nature of the event.

In fact, the race is organised by the char­ity Muscular Dystrophy UK, with all profits going to the charity which helps those with a variety of muscle-wasting conditions. The most common, Duchenne Muscular Dys­trophy, affects only males and has no cure, with a life expectancy for sufferers of around 20 years. From only this event last year, the charity managed to raise an incredible £155k, and, although final figures are not in, they hope to improve on this figure from this year’s event considerably given the surge in turn-out.

The race was started at 10am by the char­ity’s patron, author Christine Hamilton. There was also a junior 3km run beforehand. The youth event was not without incident though, after it had to be restarted after about ten minutes when the supporting motorcade took a wrong turn.

For the main event there was a late surge of interest as students and Oxford residents rushed to register on the morning of the race. One race organiser suggested to Cher­well that over 700 runners had registered on the day of the race itself.

A huge amount of credit is due to all finish­ers, both for raising funds and the training along the way. Following a record Oxford turnout at the London Marathon, it looks very much as though the Dark Blue momen­tum continues.