8am, Sunday 21st May…An early start for the Oxford Health Charity team and our young helpers as we set up our charity information board; tables with children’s ‘pot luck’ tombola game, drinks and snacks; and the all-important doggy water bowl and treats, all underneath our sunshine yellow gazebo. With its colour mirroring the beautiful sunny weather that was forecast for the day, this striking stand was to be our base for the 2023 Blenheim 7k Fun Run event – alongside our mental health partners One-Eighty, Response and Oxfordshire Mind.

It wasn’t long before our youngest team member was warming up and then heading off for his 1-mile race, which took him half a mile up the road and back outside the Pleasure Gardens. Sporting his OHC T shirt, our eight-year-old champion did himself, and the charity, proud as he crossed the finish line with a time of 10 minutes 1 second!


With the children’s race over, it was time for the rest of our Oxford Health Charity team to join the energising warm up in preparation for their chosen 7k events.   


Well, most team members warmed up – some were plenty warm enough in the heat already!


As with the 1-mile race, the remaining three events started on the road opposite the entrance to The Pleasure Gardens but, from there, the 4k and 7k courses followed a beautifully scenic, circular route which meant those taking part were afforded stunning views of the Palace and grounds.

At the sound of the klaxon, our Oxford Health Charity 7k participants (with and without four-legged companions) found themselves being taken swiftly away from the Pleasure Gardens and around the righthand side of the Palace.


“I decided to run for Oxford Health Charity at this event as I was hoping, by running this 7k, that I could raise some money to help those that saved my best friend's life and have continued to care for her. I know, if she was able, she would have done this run in her sleep but as she can’t I thought I’d give it a go.”


From here, under the watchful eye of the 1st Duke of Marlborough’s statue on top of the Column of Victory, they traversed the impressive bridge that sits between the Lake and Queen’s Pool. Having briefly taken in the sight of The Harry Potter Tree, they then veered left along a lakeside path and, after around 1k, re-joined the main roadway to wind their way through High Park (passing the stunning, Grade II listed High Lodge along the way) to Bladon Bridge and finally down the home strait to finish back at the Pleasure Gardens.                              

“I signed up to the Blenheim 7k because I love running and I love Blenheim palace. I thought it would be nice to do something to help support Oxford Health Charity.” 


Whether they ran, jogged or walked, had two legs or four, we are extremely proud of every Oxford Health Charity team member who joined us for the Fun Run.


“I enjoy a challenge and wanted to raise some money for a very worthwhile cause. I do not work in a clinical role, but signing up to this made me feel like I was contributing towards the operational side of things and doing my part.”


“I chose Oxford Health Charity as I wanted to run for a cause and also to support my friends.”


Some, took part to achieve personal challenges, others took part to encourage friends and colleagues, but all came out to support – and raise awareness of – Oxford Health Charity and the work that we do. We were particularly blown away by the amazing performances of four of our 7k runners – Patrick, who powered through the course to finish in just over 40 minutes, Balazs who crossed the line in 42 minutes 3 seconds and Lydia & Zeus who came in just 24 seconds behind!

And their rewards? A beautifully crafted medal for every race participant...


… a variety of well-earned, tasty treats waiting at the finish line…

…and the knowledge for many that, by taking part in their chosen event, they had helped to raise a combined total of over £1800 for several Oxford Health Charity appeals. 

Here are just some of the positive comments relayed by our team members to charity staff after the event:

“What a great day and such a fantastic opportunity to spend time with a vast array of other fundraisers championing their respective causes.  We were delighted to take part and to fundraise what we could for Oxford Health Charity and hope all the funds raised that day will go towards enhancing the experiences of those receiving and providing care at Oxford Health. Thanks to the charity team for making our day so enjoyable and for ordering such fantastic weather. The energy and enthusiasm from all of the support workers from start to finish was exemplary. Well done to all of you.” 👏 
“Such a great day, fabulous atmosphere. So lovely to be part of the Oxford Health community and the wider community of charity runners/walkers.”
“I didn’t know Mum’s colleague personally but thinking of her and all the patients in hospital made me want to keep running and every time I thought I might stop I made myself go on thinking that the money might be helping in some way. I was buzzing afterwards – I want to do it again!”
“It was a fantastic day to come together to raise money for a worthy cause & meet other members of the Trust you may not see in our day to day workings.”
“A well organised day with a great atmosphere. The crowd cheering us on at the end was a massive help – I forgot how hilly Blenheim is, so it really got me through that last stretch! I am proud to have reached both my personal goal time wise and to have raised money for Oxford Health Charity which I am sure will be put to good use across the Trust”.
“I entered the Blenheim 7k to raise money for the new Highfield PICU and also to help improve my general fitness level. Despite being attacked by one or two midgies while I was running, it was a great day out. We mainly jogged and walked (which my nephew described as ‘jolking’!) and, when we found my sister was catching us up towards the end (she entered with her dog at the last minute), this was a great motivator for a sprint finish! We had a family picnic post-run, followed by a walk around the Blenheim gardens, so it was a lovely day. Thank you for the opportunity.”
“We really enjoyed taking part in the 7K Fun Run with Annie (my sister's cockapoo). The atmosphere was vibrant and uplifting, and we are proud to have raised over £200 for Oxford Health Charity in aid of Oxfordshire Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).”

To all our 2023 participants, the Oxford Health Charity team would like to say: 

“A HUGE thank you for your time, effort and commitment in supporting us in the 2023 Blenheim 7k Fun Run event. It was a fantastic day, both in terms of the weather and team spirit! Thank you also to all those who had the opportunity to fundraise for us, and to your supporters for their generous donations. We hope that you all had as much fun as did and we’re looking forward to seeing you again next year!”

The Blenheim 7k will come round again before we know it, so anyone who would like to take part in the 2024 event can register their interest with us at: [email protected].

In the meantime, for all those feeling inspired and still wishing to support us by taking part in an organised event this year, please visit our Events page to find more details about the upcoming Bike Oxford race on 25th June, as well as the Oxford Half which is running in October.