AROUND 650 runners will compete for the Jim Thorpe Memorial Trophy at this weekend's 37th White Horse Half Marathon.

Starting in Grove, Sunday's rural race is run through the district's scenic country villages.

The capacity field will negotiate an unchanged course, taking in quiet country lanes in the villages of Denchworth, Lyford and Charney Bassett.

From 9.30am, runners will compete for the trophy, named in honour of the Olympian, who was voted the greatest athlete of the 20th century in 1950.

Mr Thorpe, a native American from the Sac-Fox tribe, won decathlon and pentathlon gold at the 1912 games.

Race founder David Morris is keen to retell the story of the man – who was the subject of the 1953 film Man of Bronze – and his link to the local race.

After Mr Thorpe was stripped of his Olympic medals for competing for his college baseball team, his family campaigned to have the medals reinstated.

And in 1983 – the year when the White Horse Half was first run – they were successful, a story that so inspired White Horse Harriers founder Mr Martin that he set up the trophy.

He said: “I received the full support of the Thorpe family, with Bill Thorpe Junior writing to say that they are ‘proud and honoured that their father and grandfather should be remembered with the dedication of the trophy’.”

Since then, two British Olympic marathon runners – Hugh Jones and Dan Robinson – have won the race in record times of just over an hour.

In 2016, Abingdon’s Paul Fernandez became the event’s most successful runner.

This year, no local charities have been nominated for fundraising, with organisers White Horse Harriers Athletics Club instead working with Wantage's King Alfred's Academy on plans to install and upgrade athletics facilities that pupils and club members can use.

The group explained: "We have made a conscious decision not to nominate a local charity this year but to put funds raised by the 2019 race towards these facilities."

Open to all ages, the event was filled by early February, but organisers are still looking for volunteers. Anyone interested can email