THE sun beat down on Blenheim Palace this morning as more than a thousand people ran, jogged or walked their way around the paths of the historic estate. 

The Oxford Mail's OX5 run returned for its 17th year to raise money for the Oxford Children's Hospital Charity. 

With 1,273 people registered to take part - and 1,103 people running - the event posted its second highest ever number of sign ups and was hoping to beat the £150,000 raised last year, with £125,000 already secured. 

UPDATE: See all the pictures from this year's event

A man dressed as King Harold, an elephant and several superheroes were seen among the crowds while a team of parents whose children have all been treated in the hospital's Kamran's Ward donned gold capes.

Youngsters Harry, 7, and Reuben, 5, who have both been patients at the hospital, blew the airhorns to get things started with the help of the Oxford Mail's mascot Osney. 

RESULTS: See the list of the top 20 finishers

Harry's dad Simon Balaam, from Bracknell, was one of the group of Kamran's Fighters who, as a team, have raised more than £5,000. 

He said he wanted to give something back to the children's hospital which treated Harry for cancer in 2016 - he is now in full remission. 

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Oxford University student Luke Grenfell-Shaw, 25, won 27.09 minutes later followed by Thame-based Sarah Green, the fastest woman, who clocked in at 34.28 minutes. 

Mr Grenfell-Shaw, who studies water sciences, said: "I was hoping to run it fast. I'd not done the course before - it's quite undulating but really beautiful."

Ms Green, 32, added: "I didn't know I was the first lady until someone shouted it at me from the crowd. 

"It's a beautiful course, a beautiful day for it. It is hilly but then you get the nice down bits. We're off to enjoy a well-earned roast dinner."

Around 100 teams entered this year including several Oxford-based businesses such as estate agents Finders Keepers and Penny and Sinclair - who have raised more than £6,000.

Recruitment firm Allen Associates had a team of 10 running and were also sponsoring the event for the tenth year running. 

Co-owner Rob Allen said: "There's more fantastic businesses involved this year and they are all raising lots of money. 

"I think it's the most beautiful day we've had in all the years we've been doing it but every year people turn out in all weathers to support such a good cause. 

"You can see how motivated people are to give something back. It's difficult to have a child in hospital but the staff do all they can to help and it means so much."

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Leafield Primary School, near Witney, had one of the biggest teams, supporting one of their pupils, Ollie Isley, 7, who has been battling leukemia. 

Charlie Clews, who came dressed as King Harold complete with an arrow through his head, said he only choose to dress up when fate dealt him the race number 1066. 

He was joined in fancy dress by Joe Rowles, 34, who donned the full elephant suit he had last worn on his stag-do. 

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Tony Isley, the dad of Ollie, said he was touched by how much support the local community had shown.

He added: "It's a small village and everyone has been there for us every step of the way. 

"It's been hard but we are only where we are now because people have been so amazing."

Another runner hoping to give something back to the hospital was Chris Dix from Northmoor, near Didcot. 

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His son Harvey had been admitted with a nasty chest infection late last year but has now made a full recovery. 

He said: "I've never run in my life and can't say I've done much training but I felt I had to do something because the care we got was amazing."

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Douglas Graham, the chief executive of the Oxford Hospitals Charity, who completed the run in 53 minutes said he had seen first hand the difference the funds raised by the event had made. 

He added: "It's my favourite day of the year, it keeps me going through the winter. I just love the atmosphere and how happy everyone is. 

"The money makes an enormous difference. It could fund medical equipment to help doctors and nurses provide better care. 

"Or it could help refurbish our staff room so staff can enjoy a coffee and a break.

"It allows us to provide more than we can do on the NHS. None of this would be possible without this wonderful support."

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