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Mark sheds whiskers for big OX5 event
Buy this photo » City councillor Mark Lygo is transformed, thanks to hairdresser Amy Russell
ONE runner will be chillier than normal when he lines up to start the Oxford Children’s Hospital OX5 run at Blenheim Palace on Sunday.
Oxford city councillor Mark Lygo, 39, shaved his hair and beard to raise money and awareness for the five-mile charity run for the Headington hospital.
He will join more than 1,000 runners – the first time that number of people has entered before the event.
The dad-of-two and councillor for the Churchill ward will be among the crowds sent on their way by world famous chef Raymond Blanc.
Mr Lygo started to grow his hair and beard in January.
He said: “Everybody knows about the great work the children’s hospital does and I wanted to support that.
“I have to admit it’s taken about 10 years off me. I certainly felt older when I had the beard, and I did get a few funny looks around town.
“I certainly won’t be growing one again in a hurry.”
The annual event at Woodstock is set to be the biggest in its 11-year history.
Children’s hospital spokesman Sarah Vaccari said: “We are absolutely delighted to have 1,000 runners already signed up for the run, and hopefully more will join us on the day – which would mean this would be our most successful OX5 Run.
“It is our biggest annual fundraiser for the children’s hospital and it allows us to purchase the very latest medical equipment and provide wonderful facilities. The success of this event is incredibly important to us, and most of all to our young patients and their families.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Oxford Mail for its tremendous support and Allen Associates for their generous sponsorship.
“But most of all we would like to thank everyone who is taking part. It’s going to be a great day.”
A warm-up by Zumba instructor George Martini will begin at 10am before the run at 10.30am.More than 50 teams are taking part.
Running for the Cowley-based British Gas team is a young mum from Wallingford whose daughter was born two months prematurely at the hospital and had two ear operations there.
Laura Hall, 27, said staff were fantastic and looked after now three-year-old Ella faultlessly.
She said: “There are no words to describe how grateful you are as a mum of a sick child that she is getting the best care. Staff explained everything that was going on brilliantly and even had a children’s story book to explain to Ella what was going to happen.”
Runners can sign up on the day at a desk near the pleasure gardens at Blenheim until 9.30am but numbers are limited Full results will appear in Monday’s Oxford Mail