WITH less than a week left to sign up for the OX5, the children's hospital charity's CEO has urged people to lace up their running shoes.

More than 950 fundraisers have already registered and Douglas Graham, who joined the charity in October, has encouraged readers to break the 1,000 barrier and join him on the start line next weekend.

The 50-year-old, whose daughter Holly has been treated at the hospital, began running, for the first time in 20 years, in training for the Blenheim Palace race.

Mr Graham said: "We are really close to the thousand runner mark and there's now less than a week left to enter so we really want to get there and beyond.

"If I can do it after not running for more than 20 years then anyone can - and it's such an iconic place to run around.

"The OX5 is our first major event in the 10th anniversary year and it's so important we raise money a decade on so the hospital can keep providing the service it does."

The Upper Heyford man, who has lived in the county for more than 20 years, said his 11-year-old daughter Holly had been treated at the children's hospital for several broken bones and had also used the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist unit.

He said he was overwhelmed by the generosity shown by other parents and families since he started with the charity.

He said: "When I joined the charity I was really inspired by the hard work and dedication of the staff at the hospital and over the past five months I have seen so many different examples of their amazing work and the support they give to children and families.

"It is our local hospital - mine as well and it has treated my family - and I think everyone in the area holds it in a very high regard."

He added: "I have met so many parents and families who run the OX5 and raise hundreds of pounds year on year on year and it's great.

"It's a reflection of the support they received from the hospital and their gratitude."

The OX5 Run is being sponsored by recruitment firm Allen Associates for the ninth year.

Last year's event saw a record-breaking £115,000 raised, which has already been spent on a sensory room to educate and entertain children in its high dependency unit, equipment to stabilise premature babies and a specialist nurse for children with severe asthma.

People who want to take part can do so by signing up online by going to hospitalcharity.co.uk/ox5run.