'The only race we want to win is to beat cancer'
CLEETHORPES was a sea of pink yesterday as more than 2,500 women took part in this year's Race For Life.
Runners tackled the three-mile course along the seafront in memory of loved ones lost to cancer and to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Participants gathered for yesterday's event at Meridian Park, warming up with a brief Zumba session led by local instructor Rachel Blood.
The Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Mike Burton, then sounded the horn to get the race underway, telling the runners: "This is one race which is not about winning but about participating.
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"The only race we want to win is to beat cancer. I wish you all well and I wish you all luck. Enjoy yourselves and enjoy the day."
Some of the women ran, some jogged, others walked and a few even sported fancy dress for the occasion. But nearly all had been touched in some way by cancer.
Race winner Rachel Bruce, 37, who has a caravan at Thorpe Park, crossed the line in an impressive 18 minutes.
She ran the event for her mum Christine, who died four years ago of lung cancer.
She said: "This year is the first time I have run Race For Life. I did the Great North Run for Marie Curie a couple of years ago and thought I would have a go at this one day.
"It was great and I had a lot more family watching me at this event. There are so many people cheering you on and that keeps you going.
"The atmosphere was brilliant and I was just itching to get going."
Among those in the following pack were Deb's Divas, a group of 15 local women who had entered the race in support of their friend Debby Whydell, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last August.
Debby, 40, of Grimsby, who took part in the race alongside her friends, said: "I took part because I'm still going through my treatment. Lots of friends got together and it was my friend Jasmine Best who gave us the name Deb's Divas.
"I took part in the race for the first time last year as you never know what's round the corner and then I got diagnosed in August.
"The race was hard but I got through it and I'm not the last one to finish. It is a fantastic event. It's just a pity men aren't allowed to take part as there are a lot of men that have got wives and other family members suffering with cancer.
"Since starting my treatment I have realised that every day there is something new being researched that will hopefully help the fight against cancer."
Debby's friend, Helen Oczeretnyj, 43, of Caistor, said: "It was lovely. I have taken part before but this was the first time we have run as a group. The weather was perfect – not too hot with a bit of a breeze – and the atmosphere was fantastic.
"It is just so touching to see all the messages on people's backs to their relatives, especially the youngsters."
See tomorrow's Grimsby Telegraph for three pages of photographs and more stories from Race For Life.