On Saturday 18th May 2019, Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life came to Bradford Lister Park once again. Every year, hundreds of people take part in the 5K event and it raises thousands of pounds for the charity. Despite its name, it is not actually a “race.” Far from it. There is no timing system, no official results and most people walk the course. But every year, it is extremely popular, and that’s because of the personal meaning that the Race for Life has for many people. Of course, in true Trail Snails style, we got behind this local event and a whole team of us took part to show our support. It was a brilliant morning and we even made the local news videos.
Here, some of our members share with us their very personal stories about what Race for Life means to them…
“I took part in Race for Life this year in memory of my best friend Paula Welch who sadly passed away exactly 2 years ago, after being diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer only 2 months previously. I wanted to help to raise funds in the hope that one day a cure can be found for this dreadful disease.” – Lindsay Davison
“I ran the 5km Race for Life for my lovely mum.
Dementia took the mum I knew away from me and Cancer ended her life. I know both these awful illness’ have to be cured someday. Hope the money I raised by running helps someone, somewhere…
Family and friends have been very supportive. But there’s a special someone who always been by my side listening to me moan cry never complains and always up for a walk. My partners dog, Dice ! She’s a little bugger but I love her to bits and helped when I really can’t be bothered .
If only I could pop in for a cuppa one more time mum miss you.” – Janette Bolton
“I fist entered the race for life 10 years ago with my work mates. We walked the 5K, it did not occur to me to run it, as that seemed impossible. I entered as I was lucky enough to have my mum survive breast cancer.
After loosing my Father in Law to cancer 4 years ago, it made me realise how important our health is and how important it is to do everything we can to keep healthy. At my Father in Laws funeral me and my good friend Sue decided to start swimming. We then progressed to joining Trail Snails couch to 5K course, and have continued with the social runs. So now in my 50’s I am running the Race for Life, something I did not think possible in my 40’s.
Thank you to Sue my running buddy, Sam and Dan for setting up Trail Snails and all the other Trail Snail runners, who are caring and supportive. It is a pleasure to run with you all. X” – Wendy Bedell
“We all know that cancer is awful and many of us have been affected by it in some shape or form. I love doing the Race for Life though, as it is a wonderful way to support Cancer Research UK and the fantastic work they do.
I tragically lost my mother in law, Carole, to cancer a few years ago when she was my age; 49. She was a lovely lady who adored her family and she had so much living still to do. She was, as far as we knew, fit and well. She loved being a new Grandma and doted on her two young grandsons. She was also excited to meet her first granddaughter. So when the devastating news came that she was terminally ill with cancer, none of us could have been prepared for the awful 3 months that followed until her passing. She was so young and it seemed so unfair – she never got to meet her granddaughter, Imogen Carole – dying four weeks before she was born. So the least I could do in her memory was complete the Race for Life and try to raise some funds and awareness into cancer research.
Coincidentally, on the day that we ran the Race for Life at Lister Park, my Mum was discharged from hospital having had surgery to remove a cancerous tumour. So it was a fitting way to celebrate her coming home.
Finally, I have had two brain tumours, both of them have been removed but because of the awful prognosis of brain tumour sufferers, I am still monitored very closely for signs of regrowth. Although I have been ‘lucky’ and my tumours have been benign, due to their locality, I am still under the care of an oncologist as well as a neurosurgeon. My personal running journey started again mainly due to my first brain tumour. After I had recovered from my first surgery in 2006, I started running to try and get fitter and take some control over my health. One year later, I did the Great North Run for the brain tumour charity. Then just over two years ago, I was told the news I dread, my tumour had returned and so more brain surgery.
The work Cancer Research UK do with the help of funds raised from the Race for Life, has definitely benefited my family and so many others. We have like so many others though, also felt the harm that cancer can cause and as such it is so important to me that I continue to do my bit. You just never know what’s round the corner! ” – Theresa Wraith
And here’s Yvonne, who doesn’t run every year, but she volunteers at the event instead. And here’s why…
“This year will be my tenth season volunteering for Cancer Research UK, and it has become such an integral part of my summer, I have found it quite a challenge to think back to when I started and why I did it. Well it was the summer of 09 and I was looking to volunteer somehow but not sure what to do, I saw an article in the Craven Herald about the event at Broughton Hall and thought I could do that. Although what that was I wasn’t entirely sure, but knew it didn’t involved running (yes I know this may brings gasps of horror and possibly some punishment from our leader). Anyway, it was such a good day, incredibly busy but at the end of it I felt great and really enjoyed it, and that was the beginning. Each year I volunteered at another Race and another one and it has snowballed to usually helping at five or six races a year and also at promo events. I look forward to attending the events each year and have made some great friends which in itself are always a bonus with anything you do.
I have to be honest and say at my first race I didn’t really grasp the importance of the Race For Life to those taking part, as at the time I had had very little experience of knowing anyone with cancer. Unfortunately as the years have passed this has changed, and when the Race For Life’s minutes silence happens, those I think of has increased each year and for me makes it even more important to be able to support the Races and Cancer Research UK. Everyone has their own reason whether it is as a survivor or because they have lost someone close, they set themselves the Race For Life as the end of their own C25K journey, and we know how that feels, whatever the reason to cross the line is very special to them and to be able to support that, I feel very privileged.
I can do so many different roles on the day, each Race can be different, that it would take an essay to explain them, so won’t bore you with the details but it can be marshalling, Volunteer manager, admin tent manager (the one where you get your numbers if forgotten, lost it or not received it), sorting the radios out, looking after lost children, directing traffic or even throwing buckets of water at those on the Pretty Muddy. Whatever the role it’s all part of the day.
I have so many memories of individuals who have made me smile, laugh out loud, and also brought a tear to my old sometimes cynical self: an elderly lady walking with a zimmer frame who set off 45 minutes before the start of the race, who said: as she was very slow, she didn’t want to hold anyone back and knew her friends would catch her up on route, to hearing over the radio “there’s a lady who has a pony dressed in a tutu and leg warmers here to take part”, not what you expect on a Sunday morning in Ilkley. We asked if she could walk at the back with a bucket for any incidents on en route just in case you were wondering. To the 42 year old woman in Huddersfield who due to severe health issues took two and half hours to complete one lap of the Race For Life but it clearly meant so much to her and her young family that she was even there.
So, I carry on doing it each year because I love it, the feeling that I’m supporting others to achieve their goals and be part of something that is so important and means a great deal to me. I do have fun, get to cheer people on, give our high fives and on pretty muddy day have a huge water pistol and licence to use it, what more do you need on a Sunday morning.
On a final note to all the Snails who ran at Bradford it was a pleasure to be able to cheer you on and for those who are going to be a Leeds, I look forward to be able to do the same for you” – Yvonne Harrison
Thank you all for sharing your stories.