Race for Life 2019 (Penzance)



This year #RaceForLife included boys and men, as well as women and girls – whoooo! –  so I took my sons and we all ran it together. This was a special Mum-treat for me because it was the first time we’ve all run the same 5k together — simply due to busy family logistics, it’s usually just one, two or three of us.

On the way in, the boys were asking, ‘Will everyone be wearing pink?’

‘Will we be the only boys?’

‘Is it a race?’

The answer was, ‘No, no, and no. Loads of people will be wearing pink but not everyone, there will be loads of boys and men running, and it’s not a race – you can run or walk or skip if you like, and take as long as you want.’

We started by finding friends and bouncing around to a musical warm-up, then jogged along the prom to Newlyn, a zig-zag across the green, and a mosey back to the finish (same place as the start; route 5km, flat as a pancake).

The Penzance men did us proud – there were hundreds, many in pink tutus and wild wigs (just how we like them). There were loads of everythings: adults, children, young, old, experienced runners, newbies, able-bodied, people with sticks and wheelchairs, babies in buggies, dogs… everyone was smiling and joining in. People ran, walked, hobbled, stopped, continued, took photos, sat on benches, galloped full tilt, trotted daintily, thundered, bounced, wobbled and flopped. A band played on the green, their music carrying everyone along. Marshals with big foam hands lined the way to high-five the runners, and to help anyone who needed a break. Water bottles were given out to anyone who needed one.

The sun shone, a breeze stopped us from overheating, the sea views were as gorgeous as ever, and between us, we all raised tens of thousands of pounds for Cancer Research.

My youngest was chatting on the way around, ‘Mum, will we be saving lives?’

‘Helping to, yes, hopefully.’

He’d done PE at school, then an after-school sports club, and played with friends: he was exhausted by the start and had a post-dinner stitch for the first half (but you can’t not feed a little boy who’s already done 3 hours of exercise).

‘So if we hurt a bit now, it will stop lots of people hurting a lot?’

‘So if we hurt a bit now, it will stop lots of people hurting a lot?’

‘Mmph,’ I do the Mum’s-not-welling-up thing behind him, ‘yeah.’

Bless him, he pounded on all the way to the finish.

It’s an emotional run: people run with photos of, or messages to, their loved ones on their backs. I lost my grandmother to cancer: this one’s for you, Nan, always. So did my children, and so we also ran for my beautiful mother-in-law. But for me, the emotion wasn’t so much the grief of people lost, but amazement at these little children who were all prepared to push themselves through 5km of real effort, to help save other people. I thought of the payback for this great, human effort: how many of these little 7, 8, 9, and 10 year-olds will be raising money that will go on to save their own grandchildren in the decades to come? To maybe eradicate cancers that, in time, will either be avoidable or beatable?

We weren’t organised enough to write placards for our backs, but much as I still love and miss my Nan and mother-in-law, I think our family ran for the people yet to come.

That and the high fives and neat medals, because everyone likes a bit of bling.

This was possibly the most fun group run I’ve ever done.

Definitely recommend this to everyone.

Crossing the finish line with my youngest


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