THOUSANDS of women turned up at Pitchcroft this morning to show their support for the fight against cancer in this year's Race For Life event.

The racecourse beside the River Severn became a sea of pink as participants in the run gathered from across Worcester and beyond for the race, which for the first time this year, included a 10km as well as a 5km course.

Organised by Cancer Research UK, this year's event attracted some 3,000 participants, on a level with last year's event, and organiser reckon to have raised £161,000. As well as women of all ages, boys aged 13 or under can take part.

Emily Baddeley, the area marketing manager for Cancer Research UK, said: "When you see lots of women coming together for the same reason, it's a wonderful feeling of togetherness."

Participants wore pink t-shirts, many bearing labels written the named of loved ones who have had cancer. Many of the runners augmented their costumes with pink wigs, cowboy hats, rabbit ears, deeley boppers and other accessories.

And family and friends turned out in force to support the runners, who, after taking part in a mass-warm up, took to the courses.

The first runners finished the 5km course in a little over 20 minutes, but the spirit of the event was in taking part, not winning, and cheers were loud for all those who participated, whether they ran, jogged or walked the course.

Louise Hutton, running as part of a team from the Royal Grammar School's Grange prep department, was one of the early finishers. She said: "I'm really pleased to have done it and delighted that so many of our team have dome well. This is the first Race for Life I've done here in Worcester, although I've taken part in other in Wiltshire."

Another early finisher was Catherine Mullen of St Peters, who said: "It's a bit of a shock to me that I've finished so quickly; I only started running four months ago.

"This is a fantastic event. It really brings people together, not only the girls taking part, but all the family members, husbands and boyfriends who come to support them."

And Emma Parker, 29, of Kidderminster, said: "I started running at Christmas to take part in this event, and I've been running three times a week in training. I'm really glad I finished it, I'm going to continue running and next year, I'll do the 10k. It's such a great event."

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