AS thousands of runners descended on London for Sunday's marathon, a throng of people waited in anticipation at another start line 100 miles away.

More than 1,200 participants flocked to Blenheim Palace for the Blenheim 7k, with walkers, joggers, buggies and wheelchairs taking on the challenge.

The family fun run invited people of all ages to get involved, with a one-mile course for juniors and a four-mile race for buggies and wheelchairs.


Runners represented an array of initiatives, including Oxford resident Della Sar, who has helped fund a medical clinic, a school room and meals for schoolchildren in Sri Lanka since the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.

Ms Sar was originally running the 7k to celebrate her husband Don's 70th birthday, but the race took on a new meaning following the Easter Sunday attacks on the south Asian country.

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She said: "Following the devastating attacks in Sri Lanka all the proceeds of the race will go to our fishing community.

"The men have not been able to fish because of the government -imposed curfew."

The event threw up several more inspiring stories, including four-year-old Noah Melingui, who walked around the whole 7k course with his mum Patricia.

Meanwhile, one Diabetes UK fundraiser completed the course in two hours and 45 minutes in her wheelchair.

Sarah Foster, managing partner at race sponsor Freeths Solicitors in Oxford, hailed the 'tremendous family atmosphere', with an Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue fire engine among the attractions for children.


Freeths supplied water in 100 per cent biodegradable bottles made of paper and plant-based plastic, to minimise the race's environmental impact.

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The course took participants on a scenic route around the palace grounds, including a section alongside Blenheim lake.

Berwyn Jones, from Begbroke, won the 7k race in 27:27 after standing in as a last-minute replacement for his sister, who had been scheduled to run.

Lucy Millington was the first female to finish, in a time of 32:14.

More than 30 people took part in the race for wheelchairs and buggies, with upwards of 200 under-15s competing in the one-mile event.

The top-performing team was Little Rollright Runners, while the best school team was Marsh Gibbon Primary School.