So we did it, May 22nd 2010 saw one of my very best friends Ronni and I join thousands of other women at Regents Park to do the 5km ‘Race for Life’ and raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Like most of the other ladies there, we’d dressed up for the occasion with mini top hats adorned with pink feathers, pink feather boas and brightly coloured beads, and of course bright pinks tops. Around us there were pink wigs, leg warmers, tutus, huge flower hairclips, bright pink alien boppers – the works. Everyone was laughing and smiling, joking and dancing.
Ronni and I dissolved in giggles as I tried to keep up with the warm up routine as 5000 women grapvined, marched on the spot, stretched and swung arms in deceptively simple routines, which nevertheless were a beyond my abilities! The weather was delightfully sunny – it would be churlish to say it was too hot and too sunny – so instead we shall be smug enough to say we planned ahead with lashings of sun tan lotion, and bottles of water – neither of which stopped me developing a lightly “sun-kissed” glow and a headache!
The racers are divided into three groups – Runners (30min & under) Joggers (over 30min) and walkers. We decided we belonged at the front of the walkers – not quite being up to jogging 5km (our training plan spectacularly failed to happen) but by no means planning on being slow.
So we duly followed close behind the “Walkers” flag and were marched to the start line, we cheered and waved the runners & joggers off and then came our turn – we left arm in arm at a swift skip … for 100m or so and then slowed to a fast powerwalk – we were soon overtaking joggers who were flagging a little. The atmosphere was incredible, but what hit me again this year was how emotionally affecting it is. People have signs on their backs which say “I’m racing for…” and then you can fill in the rest. We passed so many that made you want to cry “I’m racing for Mum, I miss you so much”, “I’m racing for Grandad, Dad & my brother”, you see incredible support and camaraderie, one girl had a sign saying “I’m racing for my Mum” she was flanked by two friends , both with signs saying “I’m racing for Amanda’s Mum” with arrows pointing to Amanda. Little children walking with their Mum’s with signs saying they were racing for “Daddy” with childish pictures drawn underneath. One lady proudly jogged past with a sign declaring “28 weeks in remission”. But everyone is laughing and encouraging the rest on, the route is lined by bemused tourists, dedicated cheerers & marshals in orange t-shirts, and family members criss-crossing the park by shortcuts to see their family pass. Everyone there had been personally affected by the most horrific illness, and yet we were all laughing. Defiant and determined to do something positive, to do something to help. It really was amazing to see the bravery with which people face life, and I know we can be proud as every penny we raise will help the fight for the future, help ensure that there are more signs in the future which can read “28 weeks in remission” and “still fighting”.
We crossed the finish line tired but happy 48 minutes after we started.
Last year we aimed to raise £250 and managed close to £400, this year we’ve stated we’re aiming for £650 – well we’re at £428 already and we have 4 weeks to bring in the rest. We are so grateful to how generous people are being, a good friend from work ( a student who comes into tour shop almost daily for his pepsi-max & snacks) gave up chocolate for lent, and gave us the money he saved! We get daily pennies from customers leaving their change, and friends and family have been great digging in their pockets. Every donation big or small is so gratefully received, to quote the offical Race for Life sponsor “Every Penny Helps”
An especially big thank you has to go again to my fabulous husband who didn’t grumble (too much!) at being woken up early at the weekend, and came along as chief bag watcher, water carrier and photographer – Frog you are amazing!
Next year we’ve decided to give people a year off (so you can all save up to be extra generous the following year!) and instead donate our time as marshals, cheerers & litter pickers – all of whom were doing a stirling job this year to make the event possible at all.
Race for Life events happen all over the country throughtout the summer – so good luck to everyone who is planning to take part.
And if anyone feels inspired to support our attempt you still can at:
for information on the cause: http://www.cancerresearchu