I’M concerned that in your Race for Life article you say of the move to the city centre: ‘If there was ever a doubt about moving this race from Don Valley, the 6,500 participants…confirmed otherwise’.
I think you missed the point as to why all these people joined the race. They do it to raise cash for Cancer Research because they have been touched by the nightmare of cancer, not because it was moved to the city centre!
I’ve done the race for six years, after beating cancer twice (sadly my husband died three years ago of cancer).
Don Valley Stadium was a brilliant place for this race, the atmosphere was terrific. They had catering and toilets on site and there were usually a few stalls selling Cancer Research items. Also, there was seating for family and friends who usually gathered to see their loved ones start the race and then go onto the route to cheer them on, returning into the stadium to welcome them back. Brilliant!
The run to the finish in the stadium was electric and always gave us a buzz. You felt a sense of achievement and very proud to have taken part.
There was plenty of room in the stadium to join the warm-up exercises and there was room and time at the finish line for celebratory photos.
The stadium held two races, with more than 5,000 ladies taking part at each. They were always over-subscribed.
I can understand that the move to the city centre may have been a money-saving exercise, but at the end of the day it was not good!
On previous years’ figures, there should have been 10,000-plus ladies taking part. Only 6,5000 participated. This is very disappointing. Previously, I have done the race with 11 to 13 friends and we dressed up in all sorts of wacky gear. Yesterday there were just the two of us! This can be blamed on the date and the location. Most of my friends were on holiday (the race used to be in June).
When we arrived in the city centre, there were no toilets nor refreshment tents. We were herded into Arundel Gate like cattle. People couldn’t join the warm-up exercises as there was no room. When the race started, there was no thrill of participating – just move because you’d get knocked over if you didn’t. However, we were surprised at how many people were lining the route to cheer us on.
The race finish was pathetic and organisation appalling. There was no thrill of finishing. When we crossed the finish line, we were herded up Norfolk Street and stood there for more than 10 minutes before we received our medals.
We took part because it’s something we have done for years: a worthwhile cause very close to my heart. But I’d definitely ask organisers to take this race back to Don Valley – where it belongs.