Hundreds complete gruelling run

Bright sunshine encouraged competitors to put their best foot forward at Sunday’s Banbury Run at Spiceball Park.

The warm weather attracted more than 300 runners for the 15-mile race, held in aid of Katharine House Hospice in Adderbury, with Paul Fernandez of Abingdon AAC crossing the finishing line first in a time of 1hr 25.42.

Runners taking part in the two-mile fun run race set off. NNL-140903-113219009

Runners taking part in the two-mile fun run race set off. NNL-140903-113219009

Travelling all the way from Kent were friends Mary Penfold and Debbie Tyler, who both regularly run half-marathons and were taking part in the event for the first time.

Ahead of the race Mrs Tyler said: “We heard about the event on the website and it looks like it is a really scenic route, so 
we are both looking forward to it.

“It is 13 years to the day since my father died from cancer so it seems poignant to be helping out what is a very worthy cause. There is a really nice community spirit.”

Natalie Griffin was also taking part in the Banbury 15 for the first time.

Originally from Poole, she is now in the RAF at Brize Norton and was also raising money for the British Lung Foundation after her father Steve was diagnosed with lung disease.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to the race. I am hoping to do the London Marathon next month so I feel this will be good preparation for it.

“Any event that can help raise money for causes such as this is great.”

Once the main runners embarked on their race, it was the turn of the other competitors to run in the shorter two-mile race in memory of former Banbury Guardian editor Paul Bithell.

The first boy home in the two-mile race was Luke Sherlock, with Emily Thompson the first girl across the finishing line.

BBC Radio Five Live presenter Mark Pougatch and BBC South Today presenter Jerome Sale were on hand to set runners off at the start, with Mr Sale presenting awards for the best placed runners.