Oxford Half: Water Water Everywhere But No Plastic Bottles

In only 9 years Oxford Half has established itself as one of the best-loved half marathons in the UK. And this year they also added another feather in their caps by eliminating single-use plastic bottles and plastic bags.

Thousands braved the rainy conditions to run the fast, flat 13.1 mile route that kicked off in Oxford City Centre and took runners past the world-famous museums, iconic city streets and parks. The race, started by Oxford Lord Mayor- Councillor Craig Simmons, saw a jam-packed line up of on-course entertainment with bands and DJs at every mile, to keep spirits high and runners motivated throughout!

Oxford Half Marathon goes plastic free
Runners enjoy the ‘refreshing’ conditions at Oxford Half

The race village in Oxford University Parks also came alive with local market traders, food and drink, and live performances on the main stage as well as at the spectator Fan Hubs. Pacers from running clubs across Oxfordshire including Headington Road Runners, Abingdon Athletics Club and Oxford City Athletics Club ensured all running abilities were catered for.

Runners were given water in 100% recyclable cups at the water stations along the route and they were given JUST Water cartons at the finish. This eliminated an estimated 65,000 single-use plastic bottles at the event. Plastic goody bags were also replaced with natural and reusable cotton tote bags.

Oxford Half Marathon goes plastic free
Oxford Half used 100% recyclable cups on the aid stations

The 2019 Oxford Half male winner Alex Milne finished in 01:07:31. He said:
“This my third time racing the Oxford Half. I finished second here twice before so really pleased to come back and get the win! It’s a great course. Amazing for PB’s. I’ve run a personal best on this route twice now.”

This year’s female winner Stephanie Davis completed the course in 01:12:58 and said:
“I won the Hackney Half two years ago. I’m so pleased to have won Virgin Sport’s two half marathon races! Thank you to everyone that came to support us, it was a huge boost especially in this weather.”

Funds raised for charity doubles from 2018

A record number of runners fundraised for charities at Oxford Half 2019. As a result, this is the biggest year for charity fundraising in the history of the race. Charity partners doubled money raised from 2018 and exceeded targets this year before race day.

Cara Waller, Events Manager, Sobell House Hospice Charity, said: “This year we’ve had an amazing response with over 400 runners taking part for Sobell House. Collectively they have so far raised an incredible £50,000 which will go towards caring for people in Oxfordshire with a life limiting illness.”

Joshua Sowerbutts, Running Events Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We have been blown away by volume of interest we have received for this event. This year we have seen our team double and are looking to exceed our target of £50,000.”

Jessica Frey, CEO, Virgin Sport, said: “Thank you to all the local spectators, vendors and businesses that supported us – it’s the community spirit in Oxfordshire that makes today a very special event in our calendar. The 2019 edition of the Oxford Half Marathon was the most sustainable to date and had the biggest charitable impact with double the number of charity runners and partners from 2018.”

The Oxford Half was the third event produced by Virgin Sport in 2019 following the Hackney Half Marathon on 19th May, and ASICS London 10K that took place on 21st July. All are plastic bottle free.

Join the 10th birthday edition of the Oxford Half in 2020

On 11th October 2020, the Oxford Half turns 10! Runners can sign-up now to be the first to know when ballot entries open later this year.

Tickets are also now on sale for the Hackney Half 2020 that takes place Sunday 17th May!

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