Thousands in Sunderland’s Race for Life + SLIDESHOW

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THOUSANDS of women pulled on their running shoes to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

Herrington Country Park hosted Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life yesterday, with five and 10 kilometre runs attracting more than 3,000 competitors.

Race for Life 2013 at Herrington Country Park

Race for Life 2013 at Herrington Country Park

Event organiser Helen Curtis said the 722 runners tackling the 10k course, and the 2,600-plus doing the 5k run, were expected to raise about £140,000,

“We have topped last year’s numbers, which is impressive,” she told the Echo.

Saturday’s torrential rain had threatened to put a dampener on the event, but the worst of the weather had gone by the time runners started rolling up yesterday morning.

“The ground has dried out brilliantly,” said Helen. “We could have faced a lot of problems, but we managed to sort it all out this morning.”

Fifteen-year-old Thornhill School pupil Danielle Elliott was first across the line in the 10k race. Katie Gunn, 14, took the 5k title for the second year in a row.

Danielle, who is a member of Sunderland Harriers, was running her first competitive race at the distance.

Running in memory of a family friend, she was hoping to raise about £60.

“I have never run a 10k before, but I train quite regularly at eight miles, so I thought I would give it a try,” she said.

Katie, a pupil at Park View Community School in Chester-le-Street, was running in memory of grandad Harry, who died when she was little more than a baby.

“He died in 2001,” she said. “My mum and I ran it together – we will have raised about £110.”

Wearside Paralympian Hazel Robson was running her first 10k, which she admitted was quite a step up from her preferred sprint distances. Would she do another? “Next year,” she said.

Yesterday’s run was very much a family event.

Among those taking part were cousins Lucy Gash, 26, and 29-year-old Amy Henderson.

Lucy is a nurse on the chemotherapy ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital, while Amy is herself a cervical cancer survivor.

The pair have done the 5k run before, but yesterday was their first crack at the longer route.

“I just wanted to push myself a little bit more – which it has done,” said Lucy.

Sixty-one-year-old Elizabeth Hansom was marking the first anniversary of her breast cancer diagnosis, with sister Joan Harland, 50, and 32-year-old daughter Stacey Marriott.

“I wanted to help because they need this money to do as much research as they can,” she said.

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