THE long wait is finally over. Tomorrow at 9.30am, 4,200 runners will set off from the Kassam Stadium in the second Oxford Half Marathon.

And money raised through entry fees will be donated to Helen and Douglas House hospice in Magdalen Road.

Some are running with friends from work, others to help a charity, and others just want to lose a few pounds before the festive season.

In addition to the race numbers, organisers were delighted with the amount of people who volunteered to marshal along the route.

Race director Andy Heyes said: “We have been working very hard over these past few months to deliver a fantastic race experience and we can’t wait for the starting horn to go off tomorrow, sending the runners on their way.

“The race has come a long way since it took place for the first time last year, and the backing from the sponsors, supporters and the community has been immense.

“We wish each and every single runner all the best for the race. See you all tomorrow.”

Eight bands will be playing in different locations around the course to keep the runners motivated and inspired, and a prize of £500 will also be up for grabs for the band that is voted ‘most motivational’ by the runners.

Money raised through entry fees will be donated to the hospice, which supports children and young adults.

Poppy Hanbury, of Helen and Douglas House, said they were very grateful to have a team of 50 people who were also raising sponsorship money as well.

“Sometimes we even get people who don’t tell us they are raising money for us and surprise us on the day,” she said.

“I will be at the Kassam Stadium cheering our runners on.”

Organisers are still encouraging as many people as possible to line the route and support the runners.

This year’s main sponsor is the BMW Mini plant in Cowley which is providing vehicles for the race, and has even allowed this year’s route to take a detour through the factiory.

The Oxford Mail is the official media partner for the Oxford Half Marathon.

Helen House, which opened its doors in 1982, was the world’s first children’s hospice.

Douglas House, on the same site, was created in 2004 to accommodate people between 16 and 40 with life-shortening illnesses.



A contemporary band combining driving guitar melodies and catchy songs
Playing at the BMW Mini Plant at the 2.5-mile mark from 9.40-10.20am

Ten-piece Japanese drumming band.
Playing at the Oxford Academy around four miles into the course from 9.45-10.40am

Hammond organ-driven, groove-oriented, soul jazz
Playing at the Magdalen Arms in Iffley Road, around the six-mile mark, from 10-11.10am

Brickwork Lizards
An eight-piece Oxford band that blends Eastern European and Arabic music with blues, jazz and hip hop styles
Playing at The Cape of Good Hope pub in Iffley Road, at the seven-mile mark, from 10-11.15am

Old King Kole’s Merry Old Souls
A saxophone quintet, playing a wide range of music
Playing at The Head of The River Pub by Folly Bridge, around the eight-mile mark, from 10-11.45am

Josie and the Outlaw
A five-piece 1950s rockabilly/rock ’n’ roll band
Playing at The Isis Farmhouse, Iffley lock, on the Thames Path, at around the nine-mile mark from 10.15am until noon

My Grey Horse
Four-part harmonies, swirling surf guitars and sweeping melodies
Playing at The George pub in Sandford Road at around the 11-mile mark from 10.20am until 12.15pm

The Corunna Band and Bugles
Army Cadet Force band made up of young people aged 12 to 18. They play a range of music, from military to concert
Playing at the 13-mile point on Grenoble Road, 600 metres from the finish, from 10.35am until 1pm.

  • We'll have great coverage online and in the paper for tomorrow's half marathon. Stories and pictures will be online, along with tweets from our reporters on the ground via @theoxfordmail. There will be great coverage in Monday's edition plus a free supplement listing the times of the registered runners who complete the course in Tuesday's paper. And, from Monday morning, competitors will be able to buy photos of themselves via our PhotoSales website.