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Inspiration of a very human race
A sea of almost 6,000 women dressed in pink ran through Oxford yesterday to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Race for Life organisers hope the 5km race, through University Parks and the city centre, will raise £366,000 to find life-saving treatments.
Last year’s event saw 6,318 women take part and raise £360,870.
The vast majority of those running have been touched by cancer and many wore signs with the name of the friend or relative for whom they were raising money.
Toni Ayres, 24, of Didcot, said: “We lost my step-dad Nick Tippett at the age of 54 in January due to lung cancer and bowel cancer. That’s why we are here.
“It is amazing to be here but also very emotional because everyone is here for the same reason.”
Tacina Rixon, 64, of Wantage, ran with friends Belinda Castle, 47, Lorraine Graubner, 47, and Sylvia Hicks, 62, for her late husband.
She said: “Gerry died in January of cancer and we are doing this for him.
“It was horrendous for the year he was ill but I know he is watching us today.”
Tina Darnell, 47, of Eynsham, ran with her friends Laura Thomas, 22, and Helen Mason, who is in remission from breast cancer.
She said: “We are here for our friend, Helen, who has battled breast cancer.
She asked us to be here with her.
“But I am just a bit shocked that there are so many people here and everyone has suffered from the effects of cancer.”
Cholsey residents Jane Owen, 43, and Sally Houseman, 49, ran dressed as cowgirls and together raised more than £2,000.
Mrs Owen said: “We have got friends that have been ill and I am here to help find a cure.
“It is really good to be here and really good fun, but as you read all the names of loved ones on people’s backs it is also emotional.”
Sam Lewis, 42, of Witney, ran with her daughters for their grandfather, Den Lewis, 69, who died of bone cancer three years ago.
She said: “Cancer is something that is very real for everybody. It is very moving to be here, with everyone together and everyone coming for the same reasons.”
Cancer Research UK spokesman Helen Johnstone said: “It has been a fantastic day. The money raised will make a huge difference to the work we can do.
“Most people have a personal reason for being here.
“So many ladies are touched by cancer.
“It can be quite an emotional event for some people but it is also uplifting and inspiring and that is why the ladies keep coming back.”