Tears and smiles as Race for Life runners turn out for loved ones

JOG ON The start of the mass 5km event.  (112603-8017)
JOG ON The start of the mass 5km event. (112603-8017)
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Pink cowboy hats, bunny ears and tutus bathed Southsea in a bright glow as thousands of women lined up to start the Race for Life.

Spectators cheered and clapped the racers as they made their way across Southsea Common and along the seafront yesterday.

IN THE PINK 5km entrants stream along the promenade.    (112603-3762)

IN THE PINK 5km entrants stream along the promenade. (112603-3762)

And crew members on board the Solent coastguard search and rescue helicopter gave the women a wave as they flew along the promenade.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Cheryl Buggy, said: ‘It’s wonderful, heartwarming and humbling to see all these people here taking part in the Race for Life.

‘What we have here is thousands of stories and those stories have a rippling effect which touches thousands of others too.

‘It’s not just people who have cancer, but their family and friends as well.

‘I saw one lady starting the race who was crying and she said her husband had died yesterday.

‘It’s very humbling and a beautiful event for Portsmouth. The scenery we have here makes it the perfect place for an event like this.’

The course began on Southsea Common, going past the Queen’s Hotel and along nearby Avenue de Caen.

Racers then headed towards Clarence Esplanade, west along the seafront and past Southsea Castle before going back along Avenue de Caen and north the finish line. Women in the 10km race ran the route twice.

Lisa Gadeke, 43, of Lowcay Road in Southsea, was one of the first to finish the 10km race.

She said: ‘It was a lovely event.

‘I was taking part because I like to run but I support the event and the cause and Cancer Research UK.

‘It’s nice to see everyone coming together like this to help each other through something which affects so many people.’

Spectators on Southsea Common were treated to rock and pop hits from the Vox Pops Choir and action-packed displays from the Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing instructors.