OXFORD could play host to the ‘world’s greatest marathon’ in the future after plans were unveiled to turn the event into a festival.

The Oxford Half Marathon has been taken over by Virgin Sport, which also runs events in San Francisco and London.

The firm has revealed plans for bands and DJs to line the streets of the city in October to support up to 10,000 runners.

CEO Mary Wittenberg also said she was ‘open’ to the idea of a full 26.2 mile marathon in the city in the future.

She said: “One of the reasons we were attracted to Oxford is that it’s one of the most spectacular and beautiful cities in the world.

“I ran it myself last year and loved it.

“But there’s also a great community feel to the city, with lots of local running clubs and schools that we are excited to work with."

Sobell House, Helen & Douglas House, Cancer Research UK and premature babies charity SSNAP are the event’s partners but people can run for a charity of their choice.

The event began in 2011 but avoided the city centre - starting and finishing at the Kassam Stadium - until last year, when 7,500 completed the course.

The former New York Marathon race director helped develop marathons in Boston, Berlin, Chicago and Tokyo said Oxford could eclipse them all.

She said: “It could become the world’s greatest marathon, particularly with the university if we can get them involved.

“We want it to feel like a festival and become somewhere people want to come to from all over the globe.”

She revealed plans for ‘accessible’ shorter distances over the next few years and other activities, such as yoga and fitness boot camps.

The team could even consider expanded to a full marathon through Oxford.

She said: “We will start with what the community thinks but we are certainly open to a full marathon in Oxford, there’s certainly the space for it.

“We have also looked at cycling - it’s 80 miles to Cambridge and wouldn’t it be great to do a half marathon in one city then cycle to the other and do it again.”

Virgin Sport has also been working with local running clubs to find out how best to promote the sport at the event on October 8.

More than 250 children from ten local schools will also run in a mile-long race

Runners can sign up until September 25 at uk.virginsport.com/event/oxford-2017.