School staff and students from Bicester joined thousands of runners who took on the city’s historic Oxford Town and Gown race.

Students and teachers from The Bicester School took part in the school’s first group entry in the race, which took place on May 14.

Runners took part in the only closed-road city centre 10K in Oxford with a glorious stretch along the River Cherwell and which finished in University Parks.

The annual race now in its 41st year, also saw 500 children from local schools complete the junior 3K course.

Included in the school team were two History teachers running the 10k race alongside PE teacher Sarah Masterson, Ruth Consultine, PSHE lead, and Rachel Walton, head of year nine.

Speaking before the event, Ms Consultine said: “This is our first official event except for Park Run.

“The difference with this is that we are doing it as a team and had a non-moveable target to work towards.

“Training has gone well, despite all of the rain!

“It’s been good to have each other to support and encourage along the way – we are really looking forward to running through Oxford and experiencing a run with a big crowd.”

The Town and Gown run was set up in 1982 by local runners as a fun run to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK).

Ms Masterson has been helping get the runners ready by holding 30-minute sessions after school on Fridays.

She said: “There’s a massive fear of just having a go.

“And the dropout rate for teenage girls in particular is huge compared to boys – four in 10 girls take part in sport compared to 6 in 10 boys, and only 28 per cent actually enjoy sport.”

“At The Bicester School, we have some excellent sports team, our Year 7 Girls Football Team for example have just won the Oxfordshire Schools U12 County Cup.

"However, like many schools, we have students who may lack confidence, have additional needs, or challenges in their life that cause them to disengage in sport."

The run comes as part of a wider challenge from the teacher to encourage more teenagers, girls especially, to get fit and break down barriers of exercise.

She continued: “Not everyone likes sport and exercise, but with challenge comes opportunity and the benefits are massive.

"Sport releases all sorts of endorphins that can help you cope better in school, as well as improve your self-confidence and self-worth.”

“Changing students’ mindset to believe they can do it requires openness and curiosity to listen and create a culture of inclusivity. 

"Having a lack of self-worth can prevent someone from exercising, but I want to empower students to break down those barriers so they get moving and feel great.”