Picture special: Emotions on show at Race for Life

Hundreds tell stories of loved ones at annual Barnstaple cancer fund-raiser

HUNDREDS of women painted Barnstaple pink as Race for Life made an emotional 10th anniversary return to the town yesterday (Sunday).

Friends, colleagues, mothers, grandmothers and daughters – many holding hands, some with dogs and others with pushchairs – ran, jogged or walked a 5km circuit from the playing fields at the Tarka Tennis Centre at Seven Brethren.

Most wore pink and pinned poignant handwritten messages to their backs in support of those battling cancer, or in memory of loved ones they’d lost to the disease.

In total, 1,630 participants entered the Cancer Research UK event, one of 260 being held around the country this summer.


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First across the finish line was Carolyn “Flipse” Hiron, from Woolacombe, who said she ran 5km in under 20 minutes for the first time ever.

“I was running in memory of my brother’s best friend, Matt Bowers, who died of stomach cancer in 1996 aged 27,” said Carolyn, who finished in 19minutes 27seconds.

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“I’m also running in support of my surrogate mum Jan who works at the Post Office in Woolacombe.

“I took part in Race for Life last year and came second but I’ve never won anything before so I’m well chuffed about that; it was really good to come in under 20 minutes.”

Hannah Blair, 20 from Torrington. came second after taking part in the event for the first time.

“Every year I say I’m going to do it and this was the year,” she said.

“My granddad has had cancer and I know a lot of people with the disease so it’s something I want to support.”

Alice Cooke, from Instow, improved on a fifth place finish last year to come in third with a time of 21.38.

“I’m running in memory of Exeter City footballer Adam Stansfield, and in support of rugby league player Steve Precott, who is still battling cancer, and my mum Myra Slade, who fought breast cancer,” she said.

Other runners included a team from Queen’s Medical Centre in Barnstaple, who ran in memory of receptionist Jan Neale, who died of breast cancer earlier this year.

Mum and daughter, Sheila and Corrina Middleton, from Woolacombe, ran in memory of mum and nan Sheila, who passed away from cancer in 2009. They also ran in support of friends Lucy and Bonnie, who are currently undergoing treatment.

A team from the North Devon Gazette was also among those taking part.

Event manager Kate Shimmell said it was a “very emotional but very enjoyable day”.

“We had the perfect weather – dry and not too hot – and all the ladies were in great spirits. So many took the time to get teams together and get dressed up on the day and hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves.”

She said she hoped that the amount raised would exceed the �113,517 Barnstaple target despite numbers being slightly down on last year’s event.

“The Saturday event was not filling as quickly as previous years but the 11am Sunday event is always popular so we decided to focus on that to maintain a great atmosphere and give our ladies the best day possible,” she said.

“The main thing now is to get all the sponsor money in as soon as possible to get a good idea of how close we are to our target.”

To submit sponsor money, visit www.raceforlife.org

To view more pictures of the event, click on the gallery links on the top right of this page.

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