That was the feeling of many ‘emotional’ racers taking part in the Pretty Muddy event this weekend in memory of their loved ones.
Starting just after the kids’ race, hundreds of people lined up to run the 5km adults’ route to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
The run – held a day before the Race for Life event in the same location – involved participants jumping over barriers and sliding down inflatables into pools of muddy water.
23-year-old Claire O’Kennedy from North End was taking part, along with 21 of her friends, in remembrance of her boyfriend’s mum Karen Jenkinson who died of breast cancer last year.
She said: ‘My partner did a long bike ride to raise money and got nearly £20,000 so I thought me and the girls should do something too.
‘Karen was the most amazing, bubbly woman. She was the best mother-in-law, she was like a mum to me.
‘Today is just really lovely and it’s a nice way to show our respect to her. She would have loved this.’
So far Claire and her group had raised around £5,000 in sponsorships.
One group from Fareham – clad in bright pink tutus – were taking on the challenge in honour of cancer survivors, as well as friends and relatives who they had lost over the years.
Survivor Trudy West, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 and has since undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She was set to tackle the course along with Jenny Gregory, 70, Mia West, 30, Vanessa Ware, 26 and Jessica West, 51.
Trudy said: ‘For me it’s about giving back and thanking everyone who supported me, especially the staff at QA Hospital.
‘We thought this would be a fun way to do this and so far we’ve raised £895.’
For best friends Simone Watson, 51, and Sally Tribble, 47, this was their seventh race for Cancer Research UK.
Simone, from Southampton, said: ‘I’ve been taking part in these for my sister Denise who died 22 years ago of breast cancer.
‘I think she sent the sun down to us today and is watching over us now.’
Paulsgrove resident Sally added: ‘I’m doing this for my dad and sister who died about 16 years ago. My dad had bowel cancer and my sister had a brain tumour.
‘We look forward to these events every year. But it’s quite emotional seeing everyone with the names written on their backs.’
At the time of reporting around £55,000 had been raised by participants of the Pretty Muddy races in Southsea.