“You are like a sea of pink power. Cancer, we’re coming to get you...”
With those words radio presenter and DJ Hayley Kay started the Blackpool Race for Life 2013.
And the Promenade did turn pink as more than 2,600 women and girls of all ages – many in fancy dress- joined together to take part in the Cancer Research UK event and do their bit in the war on cancer.
Some were cancer survivors, some had lost loved ones and friends to the disease, others had supported friends and family through the illness who had won their battle and some were there to support anyone affected by cancer.
First to cross the finish-line in the 5k women-only run were best friends, Kristie Leybourne, 21, from Poulton and Sarah Hudak, from Manchester, 23.
They finished hand-in-hand, doing the event for Kristie’s mum who had an aggressive form of breast cancer. They embodied the whole spirit of the Race for Life event.
The first two in the young runners category to finish were Jessica Rogers, 14, from Blackpool and Annie Bradshaw, also 14, from Thornton.
Elaine Johnson, from Anchorsholme was doing the Race for Life with her daughter Karen Gouck, of Bispham and Lisa Wilkinson, as well as Lisa’s daughter Amy, 12.
She said: “We were doing Race for Life because this time last year, Lisa was having treatment for breast cancer.
“So it’s a reason close to all our hearts. It was our first time taking part.”
Lisa said: “I’m doing well now, I’ve got the all-clear. I felt I wanted to put something back. The research and the treatment makes such a difference.”
Cousins Julie Hall and Audrey Unsworth, from Thornton, take part every year and try to find a different, silly costume each time.
This year they donned nuns’ habits in bright pink.
Julie said: “We do it because everybody knows someone who has been affected by cancer. It’s such a good cause.
“It’s always a lovely event and a great atmosphere.”
Audrey said: “I lost both my parents to cancer, so it’s an important cause for me.
“But we do it for everybody and the work Cancer Research UK does makes such a difference.”
The Pink Butterflies – made up of staff from Specsavers in Cleveleys – were doing the event in memory of Kim Rossall, with her friends and family.
Kim, who died in August from a rare form of cancer, aged just 21, was guest of honour at last year’s Race for Life.
Kate Cartwright, from the team of 17, said: “We wanted to do it for Kim, who inspired a lot of fund-raising.
“We did it last year of course and wanted to carry on in her name.”
Fitness instructor Wendy Holland led the warm-up with an aerobics session and also took part in the event herself, finishing in just over 18 minutes. She was taking part with a team of about 60 class members of all ages, from her fitness studio – who dubbed themselves WHF (Wendy Holland Fitness) Warriors.
She said: “The weather was perfect, I like running in the heat.
“It was a great event again – I loved doing the warm-up and I was really proud of my team.”
Frances Tomlinson, 35, from Kirkham and her friend Angela Barton, 37, from Broughton, took part in the event together.
Frances said: “We do it every year, we’ve done it about five times now.
“It’s a physical challenge, it raises money for a good cause and everybody knows someone who has been affected by cancer.”
And a team of workers from Blackpool Victoria Hospital and their family and friends – 11 in total – were also among those who took part, wearing neon pink polka dot skirts.
Sharon Staff said: “Cancer Research UK’s work is so important. Cancer is something which touches everybody at some point – whether they are affected or a loved one is.
“And this event just gets bigger and bigger every year and has such a nice atmosphere.”