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A fun, emotional race for a good cause
Cancer Research Race for Life
Member Name: Helsieboo
Cancer Research Race for Life
Advantages: Fun, inclusive, all the pink, raising money for good cause.
Disadvantages: Participants should be honest about their ability and set off in the appropriate waves.
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.
Summary: A fun, non-competitive race.
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