Estate under starter’s orders for the Blackbird Leys Mile

Stuart Craft, left, and Paul Brackett. Picture: OX68342 Antony Moore

Stuart Craft, left, and Paul Brackett. Picture: OX68342 Antony Moore Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

FROM experienced athletes to mums with buggies, hundreds of people across the Leys are expected to take part in this year’s Blackbird Leys Mile.

The community hopes that the road race will show off the very best of the area to people who may not otherwise see it.

It is the third year in a row that the race has made its way through the heart of the estate, after it was revived in 2012 after a 20-year absence.

The race attracted more than 500 people in its heyday during the 1980s, and saw about 200 people take part last year. Paul Brackett, of Thistle Drive, set up the original race and continues to help organise the event. He said: “In 2012 we wanted a run around the estate for the kids to coincide with the Olympic flame going through the city.

“This year we’re hoping to get more teams. We’ve got some football players on board and we’re hoping to get some boxers and cyclists and so on and see who’s the fastest sport.”

The 55-year-old said: “Anybody who wants to have a go. It’s for everybody from six to 60. It’s a real community event.

“It gives people a chance to get out and help out. It’s good for people’s wellbeing and it’s nice to look back on over the years.”

The runner, who has completed more than 100 marathons, said that he hopes to bring more races to Blackbird Leys, adding: “Next year we’re hoping to do a 5k and a 10k run around the estate but we need to work out a route through the nature trail.“ Runners will pass both the Evenlode and Windrush Towers and also the silver tree statue outside the community centre.

Alongside Mr Brackett, the race is organised by the Independent Working Class Association Athletics Club, which helps train youngsters on the estate in running and athletics.

The club is led by Stuart Craft, 48, of Emperor Gardens. He said: “It’s a chance to show the best of Blackbird Leys.“There’s a lot of great sports people on the estate, with the football club and the boxing and so on. We’re a part of that.”

Entry is free, and there will be medals for all participants. Registration is now open for the race, which will take place on Saturday, August 9.

People can sign up on the day, will open at Pegasus Primary School in Pegasus Road at 8.30am and the race will start at 10am.

  • To guarantee a place email stuart@ bliwca.fsnet.co.uk

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