ALEXANDRA Park was transformed from green to pink on Sunday, July 17, as thousands of women took part in the annual Race for Life.
Heavy showers could not dampen spirits as crowds gathered in pink attire and fancy dress costumes from sumo suits to tutus, to raise money for Cancer Research UK by walking, jogging, or running five kilometres.
The atmosphere was electric as women of all ages, shapes and sizes, leapt to their feet and joined the warm-up led by Marie Dove, a local Rosemary Conley instructor, which borrowed moves from the Hokey Cokey.
Race organiser Hayley Reynolds, area events manager for Cancer Research UK, was delighted with the turnout.
“There was just a real sense of girly fun and enjoyment, it was a really incredible day,” she said.
She added: “I’m so glad that they persevered with the weather. Everybody pulled together as a community, and that is something that really stuck in my mind.”
Around 2,300 women took part in the event, the UK’s largest women-only fundraiser, cheered all the way to the finish line by Tony Shepherd, from Heart FM.
Faye Tagg was celebrating her 38th birthday by walking the 5km with her daughter Abigail, 11, and her mum Sue, 69. Together they had raised £300 in sponsorship. She said: “We are here for several close friends who have suffered from cancer, but also to support the charity. It’s also special as we are three generations of a family coming together.
“It is quite moving just being here and reading all the messages that people have written for their family and friends and pinned to their backs.”
Rowen Bustillo, 23, a student at the University of Kent, who had raised £390 in sponsorship, was running for her dad, who has leukaemia.
“Watching him go through chemotherapy and everything, made me really want to do something for the charity,” she said, “You don’t realise just how many people are affected by cancer.”
Anne Stacey, 60, from Hazelwood Gardens, St Leonards, was taking part in Race for Life for the fifth year in a row, and had raised about £100.
“It’s the atmosphere that keeps me coming back, and raising money for such a good cause,” she said.
The estimated amount raised in sponsorship overall is £190,000, and organisers are urging all participants to make sure to return their sponsorship money as soon as they can.