As fundraisers go, Cancer Research’s Race for Life must surely be one of the most inspired and enduring charity fundraising events. Their 5k walk, jog or run offers something for everyone. With a manageable distance and a relaxed attitude to how you complete it, even the non-runners can feel a sense of achievement and bask in the instantly recognisable fuchsia pink glow of the Race for Life brand. It appeals to the masses because of course cancer is something that affects everyone and we all want to feel that we can do something positive to turn the tide.
This year, like so many other life-threatening illnesses, cancer has taken something of a backseat to Coronavirus. So, in some ways, this year’s Race for Life was even more crucial in keeping this relentless killer front of mind and continuing to raise much needed funds.
A Very 2020 Race for Life was my first official 5K. I’d always assumed that you needed to be a runner to do something like this, but thankfully – for someone who is not a keen runner - walking or jogging is completely acceptable. So, when I recently lost my uncle to cancer, after several years of intermittent battles on his part, I felt compelled to do something positive to honour his memory. Enlisting the support of my two daughters – Amelie and Maya - plus the hubby and the puppy, we registered, appealed for donations on Facebook and looked forward for the big day to arrive.
In some ways it felt easier not to be joining a big crowd of participants this year – I’m not really a crowd lover. Setting up our giving page and using the Cancer Research digital resources was super easy - and thank goodness - as I’d only committed a week before race day. Being part of the Race for Life Facebook community page and joining the livestream on race day gave us a sense of being part of something bigger. Reading the stories of some of the participants over the weekend leaves you feeling somewhat in awe when you learn what people have been through and yet some-how they find the strength to participate.
We chose to walk / jog our Race for Life on the seafront at Hythe, sporting our fuchsia pink hoodies – (brilliant colour choice as it matches your post-race glow!) We were aiming to complete it in under 50 minutes, which we just about managed. Most importantly, with the support of generous family and friends, we raised more than £250! Not bad for beginners.
Race for Life is a brilliant brand that works hard for Cancer Research by embracing the community at large – old and young, big and small, fast and slow, healthy and in-recovery. It's inclusive and the sense of community brings you in for that all-important (albeit virtual for now) group hug.
Clare Pope, always has her head in a book - current read Gathering Storm by Rachel Hore