October crept up on us so quickly this year…bringing with it one of our most popular fundraising events again, the Limelight Sports Oxford Half Marathon!

On Sunday 15th, the British weather smiled favourably on Oxford; from the doors of the festival village in University Parks opening at 7:30am and the pre-race warm-up session, through to the end of the 3 ½ hour time limit for the event.

As the race kicked off at 9:30am in Broad St, our 18-strong team were raring to go – alongside the rest of this year’s 13 000 participants! Ahead of them, the 13.1-mile route stretched out around the historic city of Oxford. At the sound of the gun, it would take them through the village of Old Marston and along the River Cherwell before passing through Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall and then around the iconic Radcliffe Camera, with the finish line ready to welcome them back on Parks Road.

This year, our amazing Oxford Health Charity team was made up of seasoned veterans, who had run the Oxford Half on previous occasions, as well as those who were relatively new to running and who had never completed a half marathon before. Spurring them on along the route, our 18 charity champions enjoyed shouts of encouragement from family members, friends and Oxford Health Charity staff who could be spotted within the cheering crowds of supporters and live entertainers lining the streets.


Each of our runners ran a fantastic race, all crossing the line well within the time limit – four powered home in under two hours, with some team members particularly thrilled to find they’d achieved a personal best!

Some of our Oxford Half Heroes shared their reflections with the Charity team afterwards:

Jo: "I really enjoyed the Oxford Half yesterday and we were so lucky with the weather and race conditions. I achieved a PB time which I was thrilled about (about 3 mins quicker than other runs I’ve done)."
Nik: "It was a great day and I really enjoyed it – despite destroying my legs!"
Claire: "The day itself was amazing and ideal conditions for running around this historic city. It’s been a goal of mine for some time so I’m still reeling in the delight of my achievement. Thanks to the charity for all the support prior to and on the day itself." 
Roberta: "It was a fantastic day, the sun shone and the rain held off. Admittedly, I did struggle towards the end, the pain kicked in after mile 9. However, I managed to push through and happily got round the course. This was helped by the amazing amount of people out cheering along the course and the sense of camaraderie with everyone running the race…it did lift my spirits seeing Julie and Michelle cheering us on at the start line. Thank you to Oxford Health Charity for giving me a sense of purpose to my running."
Rob: "…yet again this was a great day out. The training did not go to plan…As a result I did not run as fast as last year but had a lovely time running with some others raising money for charity. So, it was a bit more sociable this year – which gave me an opportunity of taking in the sights and enjoying the fantastic support from the crowd. With the perfect weather for running, combined with the crowd and bands playing along the course, it really was a great day. I was also able to say hello to some of the other runners in the Oxford Health Charity T shirt. Thanks again for the opportunity to run with the charity – and thanks for all the hard work your team does to make this happen."


Of course, it wasn’t just the cheering crowds, upbeat tunes and the promise of a finisher’s medal that carried our runners around the 21.1km course. They each had their own, personal motivations for taking part in the event with everyone also wanting to show their appreciation for the work that Oxford Health Charity does in supporting all services across the wide geography of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Claire: "It was an absolute pleasure to take part and be able to raise funds for the charity whilst doing so."
Eduarda: "It felt like a big achievement. I was so happy to complete this challenge but also to know that we were representing Oxford Health Charity and our efforts were being transformed into something great. It makes me want to do it again."

Through their outstanding achievements on race day, our 2023 team have, to date, collectively raised almost £6000. We would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our inspiring runners for their time, efforts – and sore limbs! The funds they have raised will make a substantial difference for their chosen Oxford Health Charity appeals or Trust services.

From our Oxford Health Foundation Trust family, our thanks and gratitude go to:

Eduarda Batista; Rachael Beale; Amy Beningfield; Tori Broom; Matt Coleman; Lucy Dallimore; Rob Evans; Claire Forrest; Emily Marven; Jo Perkins; Roberta Silva; Nik Walne

And also, to:

Jason Gibbons; Jasvin Khurana; Alice McPherson; Gabrielle Raymond; Max Wharfe; Mark Willoughby

And so, to 2024

We’ve had an amazing show of support over the last few years for this event, with around 20 runners joining our Oxford Health Charity team, but we’re setting our sights even higher for next year with the hope of expanding to a 50-strong army! We’re thrilled to hear that several of our 2023 team members are already thinking ahead to next year’s race:

Nik: "I'm definitely up for doing it again next year."
Jo: "It’s been a lovely experience and one I’d recommend (I’m already persuading a colleague to do it next year and to support the charity!)." 
Claire: "I really would encourage anyone thinking about getting involved to do so, as they say you never forget a run. Happy for my name to be put on the list for next year. I’ve caught the bug!"
Jasvin: "Absolutely loved running the Oxford Half this year – running for OHC was a great experience and I hope I get to do it again 😊."
Rob: "There are not many half-marathons with the great atmosphere of the Oxford Half – so I’d encourage any staff who are runners – or who are thinking of becoming runners – to put their name forwards for next year. It is hard work – but picking up that medal makes it all worthwhile…I’ll rest up for a bit then decide about next year!"
Alice: "Thanks again and please count me in for next year!"

So, will you join Nik, Jo, Claire and the team next year on Sunday 13th October and, ‘see your efforts transformed into something great?’

To register your interest in making 2024 our best ever Oxford Half event, and to help raise some much-needed funds to support services across your local NHS community and mental health trust, please email us at: [email protected].

We would love to welcome you to the team! 😊