Never too old to race in aid of great cause

The Oxford Times: Tony Baker, 78, gets ready for the OX5 Run. Picture: OX65035 Damian Halliwell Buy this photo » Tony Baker, 78, gets ready for the OX5 Run. Picture: OX65035 Damian Halliwell

A GRANDFATHER has joined more than 400 people in signing up for this year’s OX5 Run.

Last year Tony Baker, 78, was the oldest man to take on the challenge to raise money for the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

The retired Morris Motors engineer, from Garsington, said he’s lucky none of his three grandsons have needed the hospital.

But he is running the five miles in the grounds of Blenheim Palace to help support the grandparents and parents whose children do need their care.

This year the charity run, which organisers are hoping will break the £100,000 fundraising barrier, is on Sunday, March 30.

Mr Baker said: “I feel quite proud about it, it’s amazing the number of older people that are running these days.

“I’m thankful that I can keep doing it at my age.

“And I can’t think of anywhere better to run than at Blenheim Palace, it’s beautiful and has a great atmosphere.”

Mr Baker said daughters Sheldon O’Donaghue and Mellony Banton, and grandsons Darcy, eight, Finbar, six, and 18-month-old Benedict were all born at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

He said: “They have never had to go to the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

“We’ve been lucky. So I run it for the parents who do need it.

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“We are lucky to live in this area so close to the hospital.”

Mr Baker, who is married to Virginia, said his aim this year was to run the whole course without having to slow down to a walk.

He has taken on the challenge more than six times before.

Children’s hospital spokesman Sarah Vaccari said: “We are delighted that Tony is running for us once again and that he loves the route so much.

“Blenheim really is a very special place to run and what better motivation to get you round the five miles than the beautiful scenery and knowing you are helping local children in hospital.

“We do hope that Tony will inspire others to sign up today.”

The OX5 Run, organised by the Oxford Mail and sponsored by Allen Associates, is now in its 12th year.

Last year’s run raised a record-breaking £90,000 for the hospital.

The 10.30am run costs £10 to enter and runners are asked to aim to raise £100 or more.

To enter or for more information go to oxfordmail.co.uk/ox5run, or fill in the form, right

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