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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Annual Town and Gown run takes place in Oxford

About 5,000 runners took part in the 40th annual Town and Gown 10k run through the streets of Oxford on the morning of Sunday, 8 May. The Oxford Town and Gown is the oldest run in a series of races hosted by Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK), a charity dedicated to curing and finding treatments for muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting conditions. 

The Oxford Town and Gown race dates back to 1982, when local runner Mike Cleaver, whose son had congenital muscular dystrophy, began the event as a way to raise funds and awareness for MDUK. It was later expanded into a series, with the Cambridge Town and Gown inaugurated in 2011 and Leicester Town and Gown in 2017. To date, the Town and Gown 10k series has raised over £2 million, according to the MDUK website.

This year’s 10k saw a significant increase in turnout compared to 2021, when just over 2,000 runners participated.

In addition to the 10k race, the organization also hosted a 3k race for juniors at the same time. The 10k runners began on South Parks Rd, looping around a number of historic and scenic locations in Oxford, including the Bridge of Sighs and a stretch along the River Cherwell, before concluding their journey at University Parks. The Town and Gown route is the only closed-road City Centre 10k in Oxford, according to the MDUK website. In 2019, Running Awards deemed the run “Best 10k in South East England.” 

Participants in this year’s 10k included students from the University of Oxford — including 72 runners from St. Hugh’s College alone, comprising the largest college team — as well as former Team GB Olympic rower Victoria Thornley and Lord Mayor of Oxford Mark Lygo.

“St Hugh’s are delighted to be able to support the event, not just because of the funds it raises for charity, but because it is an inclusive event, which brings together people of all abilities and promotes both physical and mental wellbeing,” St. Hugh’s communications manager Tessa Wood told the Oxford Mail.

Robin Ward, this year’s race starter, discussed the importance of funding the search for treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy in an interview with the Oxford Mail. “Taking part in events like this are a crucial part of this,” she said. “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.”

The next run in MDUK’s series will take place on Sunday, 16 October 2022 in Cambridge.

Image Credit: Miguel A. Amutio via Unsplash

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