* Prices may differ from that shown
McDonalds have built their biggest ever restaurant at the Olympic Park in London, hardly the food of champions; a direct contradiction to what sport is supposed to be about. The wiser ones will realize that Ronald McDonald on the commercials is there just to hook the kids at a young age to junk food ad so the Olympics an idea billboard. The athletes will take the junk food sponsorship but they won't get gold medals if they eat it. Bad diet causes cancer, my problem with the contradictions around The Run for Life. Let me explain...
My lady friend was running at the Northampton Race for Life race last month and so I went along to Abington park to cheer her on, and ogle the rather attractive ladies in the race, wobbly ones, older ones, mums and daughters, lovers and friends, all there, a wonderful site to be hold for Terry Thomas. Ding Dong! There is a serious 10k run for the athletes and the 5k amble for the less competitive, both run concurrently, strictly women only in this sexist event. But it's sexist in a nice way as its essentially all about the battle against breast cancer, the biggest killer of women in the UK, one-in-ten of our girls likely to get it, at least three diagnosed for it in the Midlands by the time the 5k run is over, a complex cancer that involves multiple virus attacks to trigger the killer 'C'. Problem is most cases are believed to be caused by bad diet and although it's great that the girl's turns out for the mass the event, it's sponsored by big retail food cooperates like Tesco who push fatty and junk food to make huge profits. These are the guys who fill up mums and spinsters comfort cupboard in the kitchen. Are Tesco getting involved for the right reasons we may ask? Aren't they being hypocritical?
It got worse. At the start/finish line recreation area there were fast food outlets and ice cream vans, not just the chubby hubby enjoying the burgers and cornets before and after the race. It seemed crazy that the hoards of dressed in pink runners were given these mixed messages. It should be about health and that's it. Little kids in the race and watching mum needed to know the link. The only good bit about that area is you can read the little notes on the girls T-Shirts that have emotioal messages on about friends and family they have lost through cancer.
At the back of the field with the moms and daughter were the obese women that had completely missed the point and not done any training, and one or two of them with a fag on, fairy wings and ra ra skirts not becoming. There was no way these fairies could take off! What was very prevalent was most of the girls had their face on for the run rather than their pace on and so maybe Avon Cosmetics should have sponsored it. Surely the real point of the run is that the training, sweat and exercise the girls do in preparation decreases the chance of them getting cancer and so the real cure? These are the very women species that are at most threat. Cancer attacks the weak and overweight first and you have to do everything you can to decrease your chances of getting it, including not eating Tesco junk food! I saw two 15 stone fatties go straight to the pig roast van from the start line.
The day was great though and to see around 4,000 girls and women running and mostly in shape was heart warming. Pretty girls smoke to keep thin but there are other ways and as a fellow runner there is no better feeling than getting fit by pounding the roads with your Ipod on to your favorite tunes on a Monday evening whilst everyone else is slobbed out in front of soap operas. It is difficult for girls to train alone at night in the winter though and so always good to line up a male running buddy of similar ability. If Kelly Brook needs a running mate I am available!
The organizers hoped to raise £400,000 from Northampton but the numbers were down on last year's race as the admittance fee had gone up to £14.99 and donations are generally falling for all charities. You can see that if 4000 girls ran that's only £10 per person accrued, and if you load in personal sponsors it's not a massive return and so 'admin costs' must be rather high. I presume Tesco are pouring some money in on top and so the girls raised about a fiver each, not great? It feels like a get the T-Shirt event for most. Tesco hold 240 races and events per year and this the eleventh year of the race, their staff often taking part. But the ten million they raise from it is tax deductible.
I'm not going to be killjoy though and you should take part. It's a contradiction that the poorer you are in the west the fatter you are and you need to get out there and get fit. The National Health Service is being disbanded and private healthcare to treat poor health diets coming in will be expensive ad selective down the line. Working-class people are far more likely to get dementia and cancer in their retirement and already we can't - or won't - meet the costs for those chronic illnesses. You need to get fit now girls while the sun is out and people are happy. Nothing sexier than mature women with athletic bodies! Self-esteem gushes in when you lose that blubber. The gym may give you a nice bottom and see off some of the cellulite so the boys desire you but it doest always fix the ticker.
Race for life is the name for the fundraising events organised by British cancer charity 'Cancer Research UK'. These events take place annually in a large number of locations throughout the UK, using during May and the surrounding months. The events are for women only, and are either 5km or 10km races. You can walk, jog, run or even take your baby in a pushchair round the course. Women are encoraged to get sponsorship for taking part, raising both awareness and funds for the charity. There is a joinging fee of £14.99 for adults and £10 for children. The first race for life was back in 1994 and the events have grown and grown more and more every year.
I decided to take part in Race for life this year, as I had been saying for years I was going to give it a go, and after finding out my Dad had bladder cancer, decided there was no time like the present to join. I also managed to get my mum involved, this helped her have something to focus on as well as myself.
You can sign up for the race for life, either online or over the phone. I signed up online, which was really easy to do. A pack for your race is then sent out to you in the post.
The pack includes,
a letter thanking you for joining, which also has a little story from a woman fighting cancer.
your race for life details
a checklist for your race day
a sponsor form
a bag for clothes you can donate on the day
your race number
a pink back sign, where you can say who you are racing for
and some posters encouraging people to join you.
You can also print off extra sponorship forms online, where you can get even more fundraising tips.
You can also purchase various items on the website. such as t-shirts, water bottles and fun items such as tiaras to run in, helping to raise more for the charitry.
I was a bit unlucky in my experience, and even though I registered a good amount of time in advance, I didn't recieve my pack in time. This was dissappointing as I had ordered a t-shirt, jumper and a drinks bottle to race with. However I was able to get all the information for the day and sponsor forms online, I was also able to set up a just giving page online, where people could donate.
I must say that although this was unfortunate, it hasn't put me off, and after phoning up to find out what had happened to my pack/ order, I found the people to be very helpful, friendly and full of heartfelt apologies doing their best to explain what had happened.
I did get my pack in the end, even if it was 2 weeks after my event. It did come with a personal letter of apology, which explained there had been some technical problems around the time I ordered . I was advised that I could return the items I ordered as I had already run my race, but I decided to keep them. The clothes I ordered were of a good quality, and I use them to workout in and I can keep them to run in next time.
You are advised to get your event one hour before. As I hadn't received my pack, I was advised to get there a bit earlier and go to the information tent. Here I could get a race number and register, if you had your pack you didn't need to do this. This is also available to people who have entered the race late, and also don't have packs.
At the evnt, there are a number of facilities, which vary from race to race. At the race I took part in, there were toilet facilities (lots and lots of porta loos), a few information stands, a donation station (here you can donate clothes etc for the charity shops), and a stage with a host from a local radio station.
Before the race, there is lots going on, to get you geared up and ready to race. At my race there were a few speakers, that told their personal stories about their fights with cancer. I wasn't expecting to get so emontional, but the stories really hit you. All the racers are gathered round the stage together, and as all this is going on, you have the chance to read peoples back signs. This is a very emotional thing, as it makes you realise just how many people are effected by cancer, from people fighting, to those who we have lost to the family's around them.
After the speakers there was a singer, who came on to lift our spirits and get us geared up to race. Everyone joins in and no-one cares how silly we all look dancing.
After this before we started our race, we had a really good warm up workout, which included lots of aerobic exercises. I really enjoyed this, however there is a lot of people doing the same exercises at the same time and you are all croweded together so watch out for peoples feet!!
For my event, you could either start with the runners, walkers or with the pushchairs, each of which had their own seperate countdown. There is someone holding a flag for each and all you have to do is follow the flag of choice to the starting line. My course was laid out well, and all you had to do was follow the pink ribbon which went all the way round the course, or in my case the sea of pink women ahead of me.
The atmosphere is something that cannot be described. Its something you really need to experience yourself. The whole day is a rollercoaster of emontions. You get to dress up in silly outfits, most people usually wear something pink and get to feel like you are taking part in something that really is making a huge difference.
The race itself is for any level of fitness, I wouldn't say its a race for serious runners looking to get their best time, but for every woman who has been or knows someone effected by cancer. You can run as fast as you can or walk as slow as you like. It doesn't matter how long it takes, and there are people all the way along cheering you on, including people with giant hands how high 5 everyone as you past the 1km marker etc.
At the finish line, not only do you get that sense of achieving something but you also get a medal and a goody bag. The medals are of good quality, and they are something you can keep forever. My son was so chuffed with my medal, that we went round shouting my mummy won the race, even though I was far from first, I let him enjoy it. The goody bag, had a bottle of water, some coffee sachets a packet of sunbites crisps, a few coupons and various other leaflets.
There are 3 ways you can return your sponsor money, online, by phone, or by post.
Below are some examples of what the money can raise.
£20 could buy a range of essential equipment from petri dishes to microscope slides
£40 could help provide a cancer medicine textbook for one Cancer information nurses
£94 could enable one woman to take part in a clinical trial trying to improve survival for some women with breast cancer
3130 could help cover one day's cost of a cancer information nurse, talking to anyone with concerns about cancer on the phone.
Overall I found race for life a great experience that I will do again. It helps you realise there are so many people out there in the same boat. Its a fun thing to do and is for a great cause. Even though I had a few issues with getting my pack etc, this hasn't put me off doing it again, and I hope it doesn't put you off taking part next year. I can't encourage people to do it enough!!
The Race for Life is a ladies only event, organised by Cancer Research UK as a fundraiser to fund their research. These events have been running for a number of years now and are held all over the UK during the summer months. Although there are now some 10k events for those of us who wish to push it a bit further, these are 5k (3.1 miles in old money) events which you can run, jog or walk.
The event is £12.50 to enter, which is more than a lot of running races, however for a day out, I think it is worth it. You can register either online, or you can do it over the phone. The customer service is absolutely outstanding. I had already planned to enter with a friend as we are both training to run a marathon next year and she needed a kick into action so we had both registered back in May to run Blackheath. Unfortunately and very sadly, a couple of weeks prior to the event, the lovely mum of another good friend passed away of breast cancer and I telephoned Cancer Research the evening before to see if there was anyway my friend and her aunt could run as well, in memory of her mum. The girl I spoke to was very sympathetic and after a quick word with her manager, was able to enter both into the race, despite the event being closed. We were all very grateful as it meant a lot and felt that they really had gone out of their way to help us.
The focus of the events is fun and bringing people together to raise money to fight cancer and remember loved ones. The starts can be fairly chaotic as they always feature a terribly cheesy warm-up which is good for a laugh, however more seasoned runners will conduct their own stretches beforehand. Following this, they try to start people in waves - runners first, followed by joggers and then runners. This is good, because it can be hazardous for people running trying to get around walkers. However, I feel that the organisers should make an announcement encouraging the run/walkers to set off with the joggers as the amount of runners I saw falling over people who were walking by the 1km was slightly worrying!
The atmosphere at these events is always fantastic. There is always a sea of pink, a lot of laughs, people in weird and wonderful costumes and a few tears along the way as you read some of the emotional messages pinned onto backs. There is often a sense of achievement at the end for many people, the spectators are always encouraging and everyone genuinely wants everyone else to finish.
However, if you are a serious runner, don't be expecting to run a personal best at this event. It is always very congested and the course isn't always cleared of obstacles - I narrowly missed twisting an ankle on a stray rock the size of my head! How the organisers missed clearing this I don't know, but mistakes happen. Go along to raise money for a good cause and to support your friends and have fun, but don't expect a good time unless you're able to set off at the very front as it most likely won't happen! Make you take your own stopwatch as although there is a clock at the start and end, in a fun event like this, there is no chip timing.
The goody bags at the end of this race are traditionally good, with every finisher getting a medal, a bottle of water and a bag of goodies containing items like deodorant, face wash, an energy bar and other miscallaneous bits. That said, I would rather pay a couple of pounds less and forgo the goody bag, with the money going toward Cancer Research instead, but I suppose the sponsors donate a lot of the samples!
On the whole this event is a great day out, for a good cause but don't expect to get a great time if you're a serious runner.
The Race For Life is an annual women-only fundraiser for Cancer Research UK. It consists of a 5km (equivalent 3.3 mile) run, jog or walk at a selected venue. They typically take place in June/July across the country.
* Registration is easy, either through links on the Cancer Research website (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/) or through the Race For Life site (http://www.raceforlife.org). By registering with the site or the Facebook group they will let you know when registration has opened - typically in January or February. It takes just a few steps to register with your details. You are also given the option of setting up a 'justgiving' style webage where people can sponsor you online, this will also send an automated thank you email to anyone does donate. You can also easily link this to your Facebook profile also.
Within weeks you will receive a pakc thoruhg the post which you must keep hold of. It contains a sponsorship form, some additional information about when you will be taking part. It also contains your number for wearing on your front and an optional additional one on which states "I race for life for...." on which you can add your own additional tribute or reason for doing it.
From then on until the race you will probably get some sporadic contact via email but there is no more contact until you get a letter a few weeks before the race which contains a charity bag in which you can put items that you want to donate on the day.
It is worth saying at this point that there is lots of information on the Race For Life site about health and training for the big day if needed as well as some information about what will happen on the day itself.
When it comes to the day itself, I would leave yourself more time than you think you need to get there as thousands of cars will be trying to get to the same place. On arriving to the main gathering area, there is normally some entertainment and music going on, generally courtesy of local radio djs. As per the advice given by Cancer Research, I would also recommend that you take a bottle of water and some suncream if it is a sunny day.
About 20 minutes before the race starts you are generally gathered as close as you can be to the front stage for an introduction by the event manager and to take a moment to reflect on the cause you are running for. Then there is a 5 minute aerobic warm up and after a few more words from the organiser, the race is due to start!
To make things easier you are split into three groups - runner, joggers and walkers who then make their way to the start line and begin accordingly. It is estimate that runners will take 20-30 minutes to complete, joggers - 30 to 45, and walkers 45 to 1.5 hours. How you progress is also dependent on the course as some have narrow bits where you have to slow to a walk due to the sheer number of people, particularly at the beginning. Otherwise there is no real pressure and you can go along at your own pace.
On completion there is a timer and there may well be a photographer taking photos as you cross the finish line from whom you can buy a photo online later (the proceeds will go to Cancer Research.) You will then get handed a medal and a gym goody bag with items from the sponsors (including vitally something like a granola bar) and a bottle of water.
I thoroughly enjoyed competing in the Race For Life and recommend it to anyone., there was a great camaraderie between everyone there and you could never forget why exactly you were running as some people really do have some poignant messages and stories to tell on their back sign.
I felt the day itself was immaculately organised and the information given prior, either by post or by email was brilliant also. In fact I could not fault any of it so much that I am planning to do it every year that I possibly can from now on.
Race for Life is a truly amazing annual event, that is organised by Cancer Research UK. The purpose is to raise funds through sponsorship, and also raise awareness of cancer.
Between May to July, there are hundreds of 5km and 10km events, all over the UK. You can choose to run, jog, or walk, and only females can take part. However, men are always welcome to help out as stewards or marshalls.
Last weekend was my fifth Race for Life, and it was such an enjoyable and positive experience that I want to spread the word so that other people can take part in their own local events.
The statistics say that 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. That reality of this is that almost everyone will know somebody who's life has been affected by cancer in someway, either through seeing friends or relatives being treated for cancer, or having it themselves. Race for Life is an opportunity to join together, in an inspiring and positive atmosphere, to celebrate those people who have fought and won the battle against cancer, to recognise the plights of those still fighting, and to remember those people we love who so sadly lost the fight against this dreadful disease.
Race for Life is such a fun event. Women of all ages, races and backgrounds take part, all of whom share the goal of raising enough money to fund treatment and ultimately a cure to cancer. Many people chose to wear fancy dress- at the race I attended, there was a sea of pink tutus, feather boas, jazzy headbands, and even one person dressed as a banana! This creates such a fun and relaxed atmosphere, and I will definitely be going in fancy dress next year!
It cost £12.99 to take part in Race for Life. This covers all the administration and all other costs of putting on the event, which means that every single penny of the sponsorship each person gets goes directly to Cancer Research UK. The Race for Life website (www.raceforlife.org) contains full details of all of events up and down the country, and as well as giving you information on location, parking, and directions on how to get there, you can also see an estimate of how much each event will hopefully raise.
You can sign up online or over the phone, and you will be sent a pack in the post. This includes the all-important sponsor form, a race number, a bag to fill with any items you might want to donate to Cancer Research charity shops, and a sheet of pink paper to pin to your back, saying "I am doing Race for Life for....". I love this idea as it makes the race and the charity itself much more personal. Everyone writes the names of their friends/ relatives who's lives have been touched with cancer on this piece of paper, and so it feels like you are running for them. I found it really emotional reading people's signs, as it really brings home just how many people everyday are fighting against cancer.
You are advised to get to the event roughly one hour before it is due to start. Some venues have changine facilities, but not all, so it is worth checking this before you get there! There is always a donation station, where you can drop off your bag full of bits for their charity shops, and usually there will be a few stalls with water.
Each race I have attended has done a really good warm up. This involves getting a couple of people on a stage with microphones and music, to take you through a short aerobics routine, and then do the all-important stretches. This year, this was done by two leaders from Rosemary Conley classes, but in previous years it has been done by local fitness instructors and even radio presenters. The warm up this year was great fun, with the usual hamstring curls, grapevine, and the not-so-usual move of pretending to jump on a horse and then ride it round in a circle! Because everyone is packed in tightly together for this, you need to be careful not to go crashing into the person next to you if you lose your balance on the stretches!
After the warm up, you choose whether you want to start with the runners, the walkers, or the joggers (a mixture of running and walking!), and three marshalls waving three different flags will highlight which group you want to join. These then walk their three groups round to the start line. At this point, they had a minute or so of silence for everyone to think about exactly why they were there, and to think about the people they were going to be running for.
And then everyone claps and cheers and begins the countdown from 10 to 1, and then we're off! I did the Race for Life in Oxford around the University Parks, so it is a really pretty route- the website will give details of the routes of your nearest event. Lots of people lined the route and were cheering all the participants on, which was really lovely.
The atmosphere is truly very positive and special, and until you experience this for yourself, it is hard to imagine just how powerful and inspiring it can feel to be part of such an amazing group of women. Everybody was cheering each other on, and offering encouragement to those who had stopped to walk. Others chose to take a leisurely stroll round the route with an ice cream- it was a lovely day, so why not?!
Obviously with any kind of sporting event, some people will get rather competitive with their finishing times, and there were a lot of people sprinting down the home straight to try and finish ahead of their friends, or just to beat last year's time. The people who chose to walk also received lots of cheering an encouragement on the route. After all, it is the taking part that counts as every penny of sponsorship really does add up.
At the finishing line I was presented with my hard-earned medal, a bottle of water, and a pink duffle bag containing a few Nivea samples, some Go Ahead biscuits and a sample of some sweets. Nivea had a tent at my local event, where they were sponging people down and giving samples of moisturisers and transfers. There was also a photographer encouraging everyone to have their photo taken with the "Nivea Boys", who were two 20-ish year old lads showing off their cheesy smiles and their biceps! You can then download the picture (complete with Nivea logos!) from their website free of charge the following day.
Race for Life is such a special event- one that I am very privileged to have been able to take part in, and one that I fully intend to take part in again in the future. We all know someone who has had to battle cancer, and Cancer Research UK is such a fantastic and worthwhile charity that it makes taking part so important. You don't need to do lots of training and sprint round the whole course, though of course if you want to then by all means, go ahead! Loads of people choose to walk and it makes a lovely morning/ afternoon out. If you have one coming in near you then why not get a group of friends together and all sign up? Every little bit of sponsorship brings finding a cure for cancer that little bit closer. Plus you'll have a fabulous time while you're there!
Grief is a terrible, haunting, physically wrenching, all consuming horror. There are no easy ways to get through it and no easy ways to find the future, but in time there are ways to live alongside your grief and clamber through the fog towards the good memories.
For many people the need for some kind of positive action is a therapeutic step and the Imperial Cancer Research organisation have provided this very opportunity.
This review is predominantly of the actual website is raceforlife.co.uk as the site is a good starting point for information. More about the actual race event later.
The home page of the website is bright and vivid with lots of pink and blue. Pink is the overriding theme of race for life as this is a women only event and the "pink stinks" group have not yet had their way!
There is a useful map and a search box for your postcode in order to find your nearest event. There are 230 organised events in the UK and probably won't be one too far away!
The home page also has links to celebrity endorsements, training plans, fundraising ideas and a chance to double your race length if you are a serious exerciser!
**Choose your event**
When you have entered your postcode and chosen your event there are clear instructions as to how to register. Registration costs £12.99 which covers the admin costs for your day. This is a good way to do things since, although you may baulk at the price initially, it allows the organisers not to place a minimum sponsorship amount on each person as some charity events do. This takes the pressure off and leaves you positive towards the task of raising money.
**Your own page**
The fun part of the site is that you can now produce your own web page to which you can direct your friends in order to sponsor you. This innovation is great for people who may live far away or if you are a little shy to ask people face to face. You can email people a nice message with the link to your page and they can use a credit or debit card to donate across the secure server.
www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/rebeccakategray is the page for my 10 year old daughter and myself - feel free to take a look (and we don't mind if you have some spare pennies to send too!!)
You can customise a message and upload a picture on this page and it will stay live for 7 weeks after the race itself. These pages can also be accessed from the fundraising tab on the home page.
Of course, the website takes the opportunity to make some dosh too - you can buy a huge range of t-shirts and running vests, hats, ponchos and keyrings. These are attractively made and would be a good incentive to your training! You don't have to be in branded gear to race, though, and although the purchasing page does appear as you register there is no hard sell.
The health and training tab leads you to a wealth of information about how to improve your lifestyle through healthier eating and tips on training to build up your stamina. What is good here is that the taking part is emphasised - there is no nagging to do too much too fast, and walking is as acceptable as running.
**On the day**
The next tab gives information about what to bring with you on the day, an event timetable, what to wear, family fun on the day and exactly how far is 5k!
5K is apparently:
" * strolling down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh a little less than three times
* walking in a loop from the top of Bute Park in Cardiff, following the river around Millennium Stadium
* walking from the start of Whiteladies Road in Bristol down to the Floating Harbour and back to the edge of Westbury Park
* a day's shopping trip in Leeds, walking around the St John's Centre, Victoria Quarter and Headrow Shopping Centre finishing in the Corn Exchange
* not much further than walking down London's Oxford Street, into Covent Garden and finishing on Regent Street via Soho
* walking down Blackpool's promenade and main piers, taking in the sights
* walking from Royal Avenue around Castle Court and into the new Victoria Centre three times in Belfast
* wandering from Brighton Seafront to the railway station through the Lanes."
Perhaps the best way to work out what you have let yourself in for is to use a map site such as google maps and estimate a route locally. With a little adjustment you can then get it to tell you when your route has reached 2.5K and then walk or run back again! It really isn't as far as you might think!
**Support the cause**
The next tab opens up the chance to sponsor a friend or make a donation or to volunteer to help on a race day. I know some folks who volunteer every year to steward a race event. They do so enthusiastically due to the thrill of giving plus the great sense of belonging and community generated.
**About race for life**
I suppose that most visitors to the race fo life site will know what it is they are accessing and so the "about us" tab is reserved for the final tab. And so.... here follows some of the more pertinent information;
Race for Life began in 1994 and is the largest female only fundraising event in the UK. Some take part in thankfulness to celebrate survival, others do so as a postive way to honour the memory of a loved one and others do so because it's a good incentive for developing a healthier lifestyle whilst doing something good. The common aim, though, is to raise money for Cancer Research UK's work to beat cancer. To date, 4.7 million women have raised over £370 million!
Although described as a race, most events are far from race like. About half of the entrants choose to walk the courses and enjoy the company of the day, although of course you can race away if you wish to.
There is plenty of information under this tab regarding research and survival improvement rates, plus a press centre and news of the soundtrack single produced to support the events.
If you haven't been persuaded yet, here are some of my daughter and my reasons for supporting the race for life:
* Cancer and loss of a loved one are devastating - cancer research is a leading force in finding life preservation and cures for many types of cancer.
* Public awareness of the need for this fundraising in order to ensure the research takes place is improved by the annual event and its coverage.
* We might get fitter in our focussed training for the event.
* It is a powerful bonding experience to embark on this project together.
* We are looking forward to the buzz of having so many people intent on the same purpose on the day itself.
* But most importantly, my mother died of breast cancer when my daughter was very young and I, as a new Mum needed her most. She adored my young son, he adored her and my small daughter would be held by no-one other than myself and my Mum. Mum was fit and vibrant and giving and loving and beautiful and her sudden, cruel passing has been so, so hard to accept. The race for life offers me a chance to make positive some of my despair and to take action to perhaps avoid someone else's suffering. It offers my daughter a way to make sense of the loss she sees in me and to relate to a special person she has just hazy memories of.
We have begun our training and are looking forward to the 23rd May when we shall take part in our own Race for Life.
We'll let you know about it!
Thanks for reading.
I had the pleasure of watching my sister run the race for life for my brother who has suffered with cancer since the age of 22. My brother is my sisters twin and we both went along to Aintree Race Course to support her in her efforts to run around a 3 mile course, almost taking the same path as the horses in the famous Grand National.
The race for life is run by Women all over the Uk in an effort to raise money for Cancer Research Uk, and to run in rememberance of family or friends who have fought cancer. Some people have survied and some have lost their battle, but everyone racing is there to remember and to do something positive towards raising awareness and helping to keep the charity funded for future research into this awful disease.
All the women taking part can either run or walk the race and they receive sponsorship from people they know. Most of the women taking part wear something Pink, the colour that signifies what they are doing.
My sister wore pink ribbons in her hair and lovely pink pop socks and she ran the course in just over half an hour. As my brother and i watched her pass the finish line, the pride was evident from both of us.
It is a very worthwhile cause and helps bring women of all ages, races and creeds together to meet the same ends. To run the race, you can register on line and your sponsors can give online as well to a special linked page for each person taking part.
Next year, i intend to run the race in memory of my Aunt, Father and Eldest Brother all of whom lost their lives to cancer. The fight will go on until a cure is found, but in the meantime, have fun raising awareness and money.
A week after running the London marathon this year, I went to the opposite end of the distance spectrum and ran the Race for Life.
The Race for Life takes place throughout the summer months, and throughout the UK, including the Channel Islands.
The "race" covers the distance of 5km or 3.1 miles. It is completed by women of all ages, to raise vital funds and awareness for Cancer Research.
My understanding is that it was originally intended to raise awareness about Womens cancers - breast cancer, ovarian cancer etc, but it has evolved so that we are running in respect of all cancers, no matter who they affect.
It is called "race for life", but as far as those taking part are concerned, it is not necessarily a "race"......It does not matter whether you run, walk or jog the 5km distance - the idea is to get round. The words "race for life" I think refer to the race we are having to get the appropriate treatment and awareness - the race to save lives, if you like.
Of course, there are those that are very good runners, out to get a good time for completing the course, but there is no pressure to do this - this is one event where it really is the taking part that counts, not the winning.
Each event is organised by Cancer Research UK, in conjunction with their major sponsors, Tesco and Nivea, together with other smaller sponsors. The races that I have been part of have had up to 4000 participants in each race - such is the popularity of this event, that towns and cities that held one "Race for Life" a few years ago, now hold two, three or even four events over a weekend. Women across the UK really have embraced the opportunity to get a bit of exercise, and do their bit in the name of Cancer Research.
One of the things that makes this so popular, and so different to any other event is the emotion. We have all known someone who has suffered from cancer of some sort, we may have lost that person, or we may be celebrating the fact that they have survived. For some it is very raw. Their Mum may be having chemo for breast cancer, they may be mourning the recent loss of a sister, or best friend. For others it may be a celebration of the life of someone who had cancer many years ago, where the memory lives on in children and grandchildren.
Women of all ages and all abilities gather together in memory and celebration of those they have loved and lost, or loved and are lucky enough to still have. Those taking part have their running number on their fronts, but on their backs have another piece of paper, where they have written their tributes to those they are running for. Whether survivors or victims, all are celebrated, and all are the inspiration for these thousands of women. I defy anyone to be part of this event and not get emotional. Read just a handful of those signs on peoples backs and you will have a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye. Powerful stuff.
The mood is not sombre though, this is a celebration event......and many of the participants will be wearing pink, wearing fairy wings and tutus, fluffy bunny ears and pink wigs. Male cheerleeders get the girlies in the mood with their own "unusual" routines, and local radio dj's get the tempo up.
A warm up is vital, and so you have 4000 pink-clad women doing an aerobics routine before being led to the start line.
Of course, those that want to "run" the race and get a decent time, should not be hampered by those wanting to walk it, so the runners are asked to go to the front, followed by those who want to jog the distance, with those intending to walk it, or do a bit of walk/jog/stagger to be at the back. This means that everyone can complete the event at their own pace - no pressure from anyone else.
At the end of the 5km, the crowds and supporters are waiting to cheer you over the finish line, and the clock will tell you your time, if you are interested. Volunteers will be there ready to hand you a goodie bag and medal, and to offer congratulations for a job well done.
Of course, it is not just the turning up and completing the course that counts here - the idea is to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research. It costs £12.99 to enter the race, to cover the running costs (although, I feel that is rather steep, personally compared with other running events), but you are encouraged to raise as much sponsorship from friends, relatives, work colleagues as possible.
This fundraising is not always easy - because so many women take part in this event, the chances are that several people will be coming round at work with a sponsor form. It is often awkward to ask for money, when you know someone else has just asked for the same event.
But of course, any amount raised, is a useful amount, so even if you only get a fiver, it all goes towards vital research into a whole host of cancers.
Entering is easy - just visit the website on www.raceforlife.org and select your local area, and they will tell you what races are available near you, with dates, and availability of places. You pay to enter online, and will receive your number and your sponsorship pack in the post in just a few days. I only entered my race a week in advance, and still had my number in good time.
Age is not a barrier, nor is fitness - I have seen 80+ year old women with walking sticks competing this course, I have seen toddlers, and I have seen women who have lost their hair, obviously going through chemo or radio therapy themselves. Bloody hell, if they can do it, there is no excuse for me to stay on the sofa, is there.........?
So, if you are the female of the species, dust down your old PE kit, get your trainers on, and sign up for a race for life near you. But remember, it is an emotional day, and so I would advise to wear waterproof mascara.......