THEY each arrived with stories of a loved one's life forever changed by cancer.
But those tales – some tragic, some triumphant – were a source of great strength for the 4,000 women who took on the Race for Life in Southsea today.
Inspirational runners from Portsmouth and beyond battled scorching heat to conquer the fixture, on a Sunday dedicated to those they care about the most.
Among them was Danielle Davis, from Baffins, who crossed the line just eight months after the amputation of her left leg.
The 26-year-old's life was changed unalterably after the procedure in November, following a battle against Type 1 diabetes.
And after just four months wearing a prosthetic limb, she shared in a collective charity victory as she marked her biggest personal milestone to date.
She said: ‘This is a huge accomplishment – in terms of both raising money for Cancer Research and the tough journey I’ve been through personally.
‘But cancer is something that has affected my family, and my friends’ families too, so there was absolutely no question about taking on this challenge.’
Supported all the way by eight ‘very close’ friends from the Jolly Taxpayer pub in Eastbourne Road, Copnor – including landlady Gloria Watson, 73 – Danielle’s efforts helped the event raise £420,000.
Setting off at 11am, some participants ran, many jogged and others walked – bearing written tributes to loved ones lost to cancer on their backs.
Proof of the feat's generation-spanning appeal were the Topham family, from Drayton, made up of 45-year-old mum Natasha and daughters Freya, nine and Amelia, 11.
Mrs Topham said: ‘Our friend Gary got a diagnosis last January and was gone within a year – it was shocking.
‘But I’m so proud of these two for joining me today.’
Freya added: ‘We’ve tried our hardest to raise money to help people.’
Sunday’s races followed Pretty Muddy events on Saturday.