Girls just wanna have fun run!
FERRY MEADOWS was turned into a sea of pink as thousands of women and girls took part in the Race for Life.
Around 3,000 women donned pink trainers, t-shirts and fairy wings to run the 5km race in the country park yesterday.
Race for Life is the UK’s largest “women only” fundraising event, where females of all ages walk, jog or run the distance to raise cash for Cancer Research UK.
Some of the runners, including brave Marielle Titmuss, are currently undergoing treatment for the disease.
Marielle, who dressed like a member of The Flintstones for the race, said: “I am on my fourth bout of chemotherapy for breast cancer but I am determined to beat it and finish the race.
“I am running with a group of my closest friends and between us we have raised about £3,000 so there is no excuse for not finishing.
“I do feel quite weak though, so I will make sure they go round at my pace.”
The event spanned the generations with participants taking part with friends, colleagues and family members.
Most runners dedicate the race to a loved one, whose name is written on a patch on their back.
Friends Caroline Ireson (41), Rania Miles (35) and Karen Hunter (36) donned rabbit costumes to scurry around the course with daughters Emma (14), Morgan (9) and Bethany (10).
Speaking before the event, Caroline, who lives in Paston, said: “Me and Emma are running for my dad. He has been suffering from cancer for the last six months.
“This is a great event and it helps to raise a lot of money for a worthwhile cause.”
Toni Bedford, who was running in a group of eight people that included twin daughters Meagan and Ashley (8) said: “This is a great cause and we will all run around at the same speed and finish the race at the same time.”
Some of the runners, such as Abby Hann (21) were running in the memory of a loved one who lost their battle with cancer.
Abby said: “I am doing it for my grandad. He died when I was three and the hope is to raise as much cash as possible for cancer research to help other people in the future.”
Adding to the mother and daughter teams were Kirsten (38) and Megan (7) Hodgson, of Werrington. Kirsten said: “We are both running for Megan’s grandmother, who died a few years ago.
“I have done this a couple of times be- fore but this is my first time with Megan. I will hold her hand on the way around and it will be a lot of fun.”
They were cheered on around the course by Megan’s younger sister Niamh, who joined hundreds of loved ones on the sidelines to show their support.
Among the crowds of well wishers was Posh goalkeeper James McKeown, who took time out from pre-season training and watching the World Cup to watch fiancee Natalie Pasqualino complete the race with 13 friends and family members.
Speaking before the race James joked: “I have been giving Nat some training so I am expecting a good time from her.
“But in all seriousness it is for a great cause and I’m sure she will be great.”
The race is aimed at people for all athletic abilities and although competitive runners are welcomed the focus was definitely on having fun as the sound system blared out female anthems “It’s Raining Men” and “I Will Survive” as the contestants limbered up for the race.
Wisbech Grammar School had 17 pupils and three members of staff taking part, and Annabel van Daalen (13) managed to cross the line in the second fastest time.
Taking up the other two podium places were sisters Katie (13) and Kelly Green (16), with the elder sibling crossing the line in a highly respectable time of 19 minutes and 38 seconds.
Kelly said: “I was running for my Aunty Betty and have done this for the last four years. In the last couple of years I came third then second so I am really pleased to have come in first, but it’s more important that a lot of money is raised than anyone wins.”
Both Green sisters run for the Werrington Joggers club and attend Ken Stimpson Community School.
Youngsters from around the city turned out in force, including colourful runners Sophie Venni (14) and Sophie Reed (13) from Thomas Clarkson Community College, who aptly sported 2010 sunglasses while completing the run.
The first Race for Life event took place in 1994 when 680 participants participated in a race in Battersea Park, London.
It has subsequently grown to become one of the UK’s largest fundraising events. Thousands more runners will be taking part in the city’s second Race for Life at Ferry Meadows tonight.
TOGETHER: Natalie Pasqualino, fiancee of Posh goalkeeper James McKeown, far left, with family and friends before the race. (METP-29-06-10BD304)
ROCK ON: Marielle Titmuss and Kimberly Kalym, centre, with friends before the race. (METP29-06-10BD302)
Runners carried poignant messages.