SWINGING inflatable balls, pools of mud and scorching summer heat.
These were just a trio of the obstacles hundreds of families faced today as they united to take on the Cancer Research Pretty Muddy run on Southsea Common.
In typically filthy fashion, the fixture returned to the city with a series of fun-packed hurdles – putting smiles on the faces of competitors raising charity cash in the name of loved ones affected by cancer.
New to this year’s event was the Pretty Muddy Kids run –setting off from 9.45am – which saw waves of eager youngsters get the day’s activities under way.
Among them was 11-year-old Kara O’Neill – supported by her mum – who poignantly opted to run for her late grandmother Anne, who sadly lost her life to cancer before she was born.
Kara said: ‘I never got the chance to meet my nanny, but from what I have heard she was a really lovely person.
‘The course is very fun and I've been excited for the race for a long time. It’s great to be here with lots of other people.’
Kara’s mother Heidi-Anne added: ‘My mum was an amazing woman and I’ve got no doubt she would be incredibly proud of Kara today and all she has achieved.’
Tied with tomorrow’s Cancer Research Race for Life 5km and 10km events, today’s adult Muddy Runner attracted thousands of inspirational women.
Their runs set off from 10.30am in 12 back-to-back waves.
Lisa du Cros, 46, enjoyed the feat with her 22-year-old niece, Lucy, and will even embark on tomorrow’s 10km.
Ms du Cros, from Portchester, said: ‘It’s the first time we’ve both run the race so it's been fantastic to do something a bit sillier.
‘I’m back tomorrow to run with my friend Sheila Ransom, who beat breast cancer during the 1990s.
‘She’s all clear now, she has been fantastically brave and she’s a very nice lady.’
You can follow our coverage of the Race for Life tomorrow morning – when we will be going live on Facebook as competitors set off from Southsea Common.