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Blenheim 7k runners of the week:

27 April  Mark Blackmore running for Sobell House

Mark is running for his father, Peter Wesley Blackmore. Peter was cared for by Sobell House where he died just before Christmas last year.  

Mark says: “Sobell House allowed us to spend time with Dad, and he knew that he was being cared for and Mum was not stressed. The place provides a calmness that you are not going to get at home.” 

 “They did everything they could for me, my Mum, Dad and my brother. They cared for all of us. Sobell House gave us the opportunity to stay there with him and gave us the change to say goodbye.”  

 “So we wanted to do what we could to give something back.”  

Mark lives in Stonehouse near Bromsgrove and works for Delphi Diesel Systems Ltd. He says: “The company were fantastic. They allowed me time to visit Dad at Sobell House in Oxford.”  

 Mark is now running with a team of work colleagues and friends, many of whom are running for the first time, with children doing the 1 mile event. They are hoping to raise £1,000 if they can to add to the £1,000 they raised walking for Sobell House in January.  

The link to Mark’s fundraising page is

20 April Andrew Smith: Running the London Marathon and Inspired by the Blenheim 7k.

On Sunday 23 April, the London Marathon will inspire many others to take up their running shoes, maybe for the first time. This year, Andrew Smith from Oxford is joining the throng on the starting line, and running for African Children’s Fund.  He was inspired into running at the Blenheim 7k in 2011.

 Andrew Smith, who works with The Careers Service at the University of Oxford, says:

 “My whole running journey started with a conversation with a work colleague in 2011, asking me if I wanted to try out a small run at Blenheim Palace. I hadn’t run since school and could barely run down my street, but thought it would be a laugh if nothing else. I hadn’t realised that it would ignite a passion for road running.

 Since taking part in the Blenheim 7k in 2011, I have joined Headington Road Runners, and have gone on to complete many 10k’s, half marathons, two full marathons and a 40 mile run along the Thames Path the week before Christmas. I have tried many times to get a place in the London Marathon, however have never got in through the ballot. This year I was offered a place through African Children’s Fund and accepted straight away. I have been raising money for this incredible locally based charity for a couple of years, and the money raised goes to fund health, nutrition, education and skills for orphaned children and street children in their project areas in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania. For each pound raised, over 10 bowls of porridge can be bought to provide children with a nutritional start to their day, and to ensure that they no longer have to miss school to beg for food.

Knowing that the 14 weeks of training and the 26.2 miles of the marathon itself will make a difference to so many children really inspires you when out in all weathers at silly o’clock in the morning. Who knows, maybe the Blenheim 7k will ignite something inside of you as well? See you on the start line!

If you would like to donate to Andrew’s London Marathon fundraising for African Children’s Fund, please visit  – Even £1 will provide a child with a breakfast for two weeks of schooling.

 14 April

Hilary Nightingale and Pippa

Hilary Nightingale will be running with a big group from JTAFit/RIOT Club. She will also be running with Pippa, her tri-colour Welsh border collie and she has trained with Hilary for all her road events including October 2015 half marathon.Hilary has been running for around 10yrs, but is currently recovering from a running related hip injury using pilates, sports massage, and physio.


The RIOT club is supporting Neil Fox, who is running a 100k ultra marathon to raise funds for Helen and Douglas House.

If you would like to support Helen & Douglas house here is the link to Neil’s Just Giving page……

Neil is pictured in the front, Hilary is giving a double thumbs up in turquoise.

2nd March

Catherine Bell,  Freeths Associate, solicitor-advocate specialising in clinical negligence

It’s great to see my firm and colleagues support the local community in so many ways and the Blenheim 7K Fun Run is just one of the many things we do on an annual basis to help raise much needed funds for local and national charities.   As a solicitor at Freeths, I advise and support people with medical negligence claims including complex brain injury claims. I took up running fairly recently because it is easier to fit around commuting, work and small children than most of the other sports/activities I love. Before that I had not run since school. I am aiming to run a half marathon for charity later in the year so hopefully taking part in the Blenheim 7K Fun Run will be a good start. I don’t have a training plan yet other than to get out there and run whenever I can.


21 February

Claire Colbert, partner, collaborative lawyer and mediator at Freeths solicitors

“I started running last year, having decided that I wanted to set myself a physical challenge for a good cause before I turn 40 this summer. I signed up to do the Blenheim half marathon in October for the Oxford hospital trust.  Training has been going well and I have gone from couch to 8km in the last few months. The fun run will be my first “official” run and I’m looking forward to being tested by the Blenheim hills!”



SIA Team Awesome 2

A wheely good charity challenge at Blenheim Palace 7k

A group Spinal Injuries Association staff members and volunteers ran and pushed around the Blenheim Palace 7k/4m course on Sunday 8 May 2016 to raise awareness of paralysis ahead of the national awareness day.

 SIA Team Awesome, as the group of nine Spinal Injuries Association staff members and volunteers have called themselves, have been training in Milton Keynes every other day after signing up for the event two months ago.  

 Before the run, Hayley Coomber, SIA Team Awesome leader, said of the challenge “I wanted to do a challenge for the Spinal Injuries Association as they are one of my favourite charities and the Blenheim Palace route seems so lovely. Seven of us are taking part in wheelchairs, even though most of us are non-disabled people – because we thought it would be a great way to raise awareness of spinal cord injury, the charity and the event, which is fully inclusive. Some of the team are really fast but we’ll be sticking together and completing the course as a team.”

 Although Spinal Cord Injuries Awareness Day takes place on 20 May, the national charity, which supports everyone affected by paralysis caused by damage to the spinal cord, has already been busy raising awareness of spinal cord injury by recruiting participants for the Blenheim 7K event. The team of eight staff members and volunteers will be joined by 22 other participants taking part for the Spinal Injuries Association and a number of family and friends who will be cheering all 30 participants around the course. 

So far SIA Team Awesome have raised £1260 for the Spinal Injuries Association,  just shy of the team’s fundraising goal of £1500. If you would like to support the team in their efforts on Sunday, you can sponsor them at or contact Amanda Giles on if you would like to help cheer the team on, on Sunday.

edward mcdonaghThe 4 miles on wheels event was pioneered in 2014 by young 24 year old Edward McDonagh, accompanied by Johnathan Watson, who suffered a life-changing brain injury in a car accident at the age of 8. Edward was fundraising for the Children’s Trust which supported him through his year-long stay in hospital and rehabilitation.

Oxford Mail articles
9 May 2014, 16 May 2014, 19 May 2014.

Click here to view a YouTube clip with Edward from BBC South Today.