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A fabulously fun and truly inspirational charity event
Cancer Research Race for Life
Member Name: tina_teaspoon
Cancer Research Race for Life
Date: 08/06/10, updated on 08/06/10 (579 review reads)
Advantages: Lots of money raised for Cancer Research UK, fantastic atmosphere
Disadvantages: None at all!
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!
Summary: Sign up today and bring finding a cure to cancer that step closer.
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