THOUSANDS of Wearsiders were in the pink as they pulled on their running shoes to Race for Life.
More than 3,000 women and children – many wearing pink outfits – jogged, ran and walked their way round Herrington Country Park to raise cash for Cancer Research UK.
Many of those taking part in the 5km and 10km events were cancer survivors or were running in memory of loved ones they had lost to the disease.
Before the races began, the thousands of runners took part in a mass warm-up which involved clapping, stepping and lots of noise while music blasted out.
Norma Ord, 53, a teacher of 32 years, completed the race with three generations of pupils she has taught as a PE teacher at Seaham School of Technology.
She said: “There was quite a few of us running today and we’re called Jimmy’s Joggers because we’re doing it in memory of our good friend Jimmy Cook.
“There’s also some of us called the Seaham Strollers who are part of the Seaham Dance Group.
“I wasn’t nervous at all beforehand and I was always say that I was born ready for things like this.”
Judith Thompson, 57, and her daughter Kathryn, 25, have recently lost a friend to cancer and ran the race together in their memory.
Judith said: “We lost a very dear friend to cancer so we signed up to do it for them and to raise money.
“We have been looking forward to it for a long time and we’re also doing it with other people from our church, St Gabriel’s in High Barnes.”
The 10km race set off first and was won by Kylie Morgan, from Seaham, who was part of the Jimmy’s Joggers group.
The 31-year-old, who completed the course in 46 minutes, said: “It feels absolutely amazing to have won. I was running as part of the Jimmy’s Joggers group and I’m really proud to have come first.
“I’m really over the moon at the amount of support that we have had and I still can’t believe that I won it.
“I thought I was going to finish in a time of more like 55 minutes so it’s especially good to have done it so quick.”
The 5km race was won by 13-year-old Katie Gunn who improved on her fourth place finish from last year.
She said: “I ran for my grandad Harry who passed away from cancer.
“Last year I ran I came fourth so I’m really pleased to have won it this time. I’m just so happy and today has been really inspirational.”
Organisers were hoping that participants at the Sunderland event would raise £230,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Holly Howey, Race for Life event manager for the North East, said she was really pleased with how the event had gone.
She said: “Looking at all the ‘back signs’ that women wear at the event, declaring why they are taking part in Race for Life, is a very emotional experience.
“Many have survived cancer themselves or are participating in tribute to their loved ones whose lives have been touched by the disease.
“I feel so proud and grateful to everyone who is taking part in Race for Life in Sunderland, and to all the family, friends and colleagues who are supporting them.
“Many more Race for Life events are taking place across the region this summer and I want to urge as many women as possible to enter.
“The battle against cancer never stops so we need more mums, grans, daughters, sisters, friends and workmates to enter as soon as possible.”
She added: “Race for Life is not at all competitive and most women are able to walk the 5k route in just one hour.
“In that same amount of time around two people will be diagnosed with cancer in the North East.
“When you think of it in those terms, taking part in Race for Life is a remarkable opportunity to change the lives and future of people with the disease.”
The Durham Race for Life takes place on July 15 at St Leonard’s Sports Field.