AN INCREDIBLE 1,000 people laced up their running shoes and started sprinting to take part in a race for a leading city cancer charity.
The impressive number of runners included those who took on the 10km Run in the Park for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, as well as those tackled who a less strenuous 3km Fun Run yesterday morning.
The combined event, at Graves Park, welcomed many with personal stories to tell about why they signed up their support.
Among them was a 64-strong group running together in memory of Gary Cahill and Philippa Revill, who were both treated at the hospital before they died from cancer.
Gary’s daughter Lucy, aged 24, took part in the Fun Run, while her brother Tom and her uncle Paul - Gary’s brother - took on the challenge of the 10km route.
Philippa’s son Kyle, a friend of Lucy’s, also completed the 3km run.
Lucy, from Owlthorpe, said it had been a tough time for the family since her dad’s death in March - particularly since he had been diagnosed only the previous October.
She said: “It all happened very quickly and was obviously such a shock.
“But bringing everyone together here today, to do something positive, feels really good.
“He wanted to do the race himself, so we know he will be chuffed that we’re all here.”
Claire West, from Firth Park, took part with Lucy’s team - but also had her own personal experience of the disease, which spurred her around the course.
“My grandma on my mum’s side, as well as two aunts and my nan on my dad’s side, have all been touched by cancer,” the 26-year-old said.
“Sadly three of them are no longer with us, but my aunt is currently receiving treatment.
“I wanted to take part to support Lucy and her family, but my family has also been massively affected by cancer, so there was double the reason to take part.”
Brother and sister Michael Turner and Alison Woodward were taking part in the 10km run in honour of their mother Susan who is being treated for cancer at Weston Park.
Although the 66-year-old from Gleadless has been told her condition is now terminal, Alison, 32, and Michael, 42, said the care she has received has been incredible.
Alison said: “We did the Sheffield Half Marathon in May and raised over £1,000 so we are doing this to raise a bit more money. The hospital staff do such a fantastic job.”
Michael added: “The doctor in charge of mum’s care really has been a revelation - she might easily have given up by now if it was not for him inspiring her to keep fighting every time she sees him.”
Gerard Hunter, from Stannington, made his race challenge extra tough - by competing in a Beetlejuice costume, complete with wig.
The 29-year-old said: “I told people if I reached my £200 target I would take part wearing a Halloween costume - so here I am!
“I have worked with Weston Park in the past so I know the fantastic job they all do there and I just wanted to do my bit to support them.”
Sisters Amy and Jo Burton, from the Funky Dance Fever dance school based at the Sam Jones Health Club in Drakehouse, Sheffield, also wanted to lend their support - by putting on an energetic performance ahead of the race to inspire and encourage runners before they took to the course.
Amy, 23, said: “It’s a fantastic event to be involved with and we’re really pleased to have helped out such a worthwhile charity.”