PLENTY came to race. And plenty more were there to remember.
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Few either side of the crowd barriers would not have been moved by the sight of 6,500 women running, jogging and walking through Sheffield streets for the first city centre Race For Life.
Bright sunshine lit signs on their backs naming loved ones lost to cancer – dads, aunts, sons – and those battling in hospital wards.
Some simply declared their reason for running is: “A cure”.
And the demographic was just as broad on the tarmac where mums, sisters and daughters, from toddlers to grans, donned pink garments along with their trainers for the five kilometre run to raise cash or awareness for Cancer Research UK.
Race For Life regular Cynthia Depledge, 64, from Intake, walked with a photo of her husband Phil, claimed by two types of cancer in January.
“He was always here to support us and will be here today,” she said.
“It’s the saddest day but it is also the happiest day because you are not feeling alone. It gives you strength to carry on, especially when you see tots running.”
Boots colleagues Sarah Middleton, from Richmond, and Georgina Hodgson, of Wisewood, set off with similar heart-breaking motivation while first timer Charlotte Drinkwater, 19, from Charnock, was racing for brother Adam, who died aged just 18.
Northern General worker Samantha Riley’s sign “all my family RIP” summed up 15 years of cancer tragedy, the loss of her dad two years ago prompting her first Race For Life.
Pushchairs, dogs, one girl dressed as Scooby Doo another as a nun and plenty in tutus, gathered in the Sunday morning heat on a perfect summer day on Arundel Gate ahead of a circular course that brought them back to the O2 Academy.
Serious runners returned first, of course, winner Alice Cordwell completing in just over 18 minutes, followed moments later by fellow Hallamshire Harrier, 11-year-old Imani Wilson, from Fulwood.
“She’s a runner and really wanted to come first, but I’m very proud,” said dad Ian, also watching for his wife Tina and their other two daughters.
The Cobden View pub in Crookes fielded a team of 23 ladies, aged 10 and upwards, all dressed in frilly knickers and hoping to raise £2,500.
As a trickle became a flood, ladies arrived arm in arm, hands raised, some clearly jubilant, others recalling those named on backs.
If there was ever a doubt about moving this race from Don Valley, the 6,500 who filled the city centre with colour and hope yesterday confirmed otherwise.
As did the anticipated £614,000 raised. With the capacity to grow to 10,000 ladies next year, Cancer Research events manager Emily Thompson added: “It was great to see so many people, everybody, dressed in pink.”