Race for Life is runaway success

GALLERY A park was turned into a sea of pink yesterday as women raised money for a breast cancer charity.

Laurence Cawley

A PARK was turned into a sea of pink yesterday as women raised money for a breast cancer charity.

Thousands of women joined forces at the starting line of yesterday's Race for Life Event at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds.

The event is divided into two races - one in the morning and one in the afternoon - and raises millions of pounds for Cancer Research UK.

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Before the 5km race, a mass aerobic warm-up was led by Karen Perkins, of Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness, to keep cramp at bay and to bring a carnival spirit to the event.

Vital fashion accessories at last year's race included waterproof raincoats and umbrellas. This year, participants sported pink alien antennae and pink wigs.

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Now in its ninth year, organisers had feared a repeat of last year's event in which the afternoon race had to be cancelled because of poor weather.

But Gemma Turpin, one of the race organisers, said “somebody was obviously looking down” on this year's events because conditions “could not have been better”.

And she is hopeful fundraisers will reach their target of more than £200,000 - despite it being a massive jump from last year's £140,000 target.

“I woke in the morning looked out of the window and saw blue sky. It could not have been better. Somebody was obviously looking down on us.

“I think we'll smash our £220,000 target for Bury this year. That's the feeling I got as I looked out over the crowds of women. It was a sea of pink, it was incredible.”

The starting horn for the morning race, which had 2,000 women take part, was pressed by 16-year-old Sophie Ellis, from Battisford, near Stowmarket, who has undergone surgery to remove a lung after contracting mesothelioma.

She was also there to see the first finisher maker her way over the line.

Yesterday marked the third year the event was split into two races. Organisers first took the decision to hold two races after Race for Life 2005 in which 4,000 women and girls lined up to take part at one time. About 1,500 took part in the afternoon race.

The runners taking part in Bury were among the hundreds of thousands nationally taking part to raise money for research into cancer treatment.

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