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Race with thousands of winners

PUBLISHED: 10:35 05 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:50 03 July 2010

FOR some it was a race to remember loved ones, for others it was a brave show of defiance as they battle against cancer.

But for everyone taking part in this weekend's Race for Life every step was tinged with poignancy and emotion.

FOR some it was a race to remember loved ones, for others it was a brave show of defiance as they battle against cancer.

But for everyone taking part in this weekend's Race for Life every step was tinged with poignancy and emotion.

The Norfolk Showground was a sea of pink on Saturday and Sunday as a record number of women took part in the event which aims to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Mums, daughters, grandmas, cousins, aunts and granddaughters all turned out to do their bit.

And there were also crowds of well wishers to cheer them home as they crossed the finish line.

Runners were bedecked in a variety of outfits and wigs, ranging from fairy wings to clowns outfits, and afterwards there was a mix of laughter and tears as participants celebrated their achievements.

Some ran, others jogged, and some walked the 5km route, while the placards and photographs on their backs told their own moving story about why they were taking part.

Margaret Murphy was running with friends and family to support her daughter Michelle, who is battling the disease, and in memory of her husband Kevin who died four years ago.

Mrs Murphy, 62, from Drayton, near Norwich, had also dyed her hair pink along with her friend Jan Carey.

“My husband got cancer 30 years ago and then it came back with a vengeance four years ago,” she said. “It's very emotional for everybody. Reading the things on people's backs brought it all home, you don't realise how many people are affected.”

Mrs Carey said it had been a great day and the pair will keep their new hairdos to give a presentation to members of the Drayton WI, who had helped with the fundraising effort.

“It's been brilliant, we got a bit out of puff, so we jogged a bit, but it's such a lovely atmosphere,” she said.

Debbie Genery, 45, from Mulbarton, near Norwich, has been battling cancer more than a year and recently fractured a rib after her condition left her more susceptible to injury.

But Mrs Genery, who ran with her three daughters, said she was determined to do her bit.

“My daughter did it last year, but I wasn't fit enough,” she said. “It's been difficult, I have good days and bad days, but I feel really good, I could have sprinted in the home run!”

Runners took part in three races, one on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Louise McCrudy from Lowestoft, who jogged the course in 44 minutes with her six-year-old daughter Freya, said: “We did really well. There was a brilliant atmosphere and we will definitely be doing it again.”

The pair were racing in memory of Freya's father Dan Kenny, who died of thyroid cancer in 2007 aged just 47, while her eight-year-old son Morgan sounded the starting gun for the first Sunday race.

“We've raised about £300, so I'm really proud of that - every little helps.”

Joy Lightfoot, 50, from Beccles, who was running with her daughter-in-law Lisa, and friend Sheila Bell, said she had been training for several months to get in shape for the race.

“I'm running for my friend Joyce, who is fighting cancer at the moment,” she said. “I followed the Race for Life programme and was out running three times a week,” she said. “We are going to try and do the 10km run later this year.”

Gemma Turpin, Norwich event manager for Race for Life said the she confident the record turnout would help smash £661,000 fundraising target.

“It's been absolutely fantastic,” she said. “We've had an amazing response with 12,100 women taking part. Even with the recession women are still taking part.”


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