Pink power in full force along Blackpool Promenade

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Over 2,000 women line the streets as the female only event helped raise funds for cancer charity.

Even Blackpool Tower turned pink for this year’s Race For Life.

Thousands join in the Race For Life on the Promenade

Thousands join in the Race For Life on the Promenade

More than 2,400 women stood, walked and ran together for the fight against cancer at the annual event on the Promenade.

The female-only event this year included a 10k course, which 250 women chose to follow, as well as the usual 5k.

Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends all came together to turn the Promenade into a sea of pink and raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK.

There was a team of 36, from Wendy Holland’s Fitness Studios – dubbed Wendy Hollands Fitness Warriors – in Thornton.

I think everybody is affected by cancer in some way – whether directly themselves, or their family, colleagues and friends

Wendy, whose married name is Barratt, led the warm-up at the event – getting the women in the mood for walking with some aerobics and dance moves to current chart hits such as Uptown Funk.

She also finished third overall in the 5k event – the first adult to cross the finishing line – in a time of 25:14.

She said she was delighted to be supporting the event again with her class members.

“I think everybody is affected by cancer in some way – whether directly themselves, or their family, colleagues and friends.

“Race For Life is such a fantastic event, everybody comes together to take part, have fun and raise money for a great cause.”

Cancer survivor Gemma McDonald, from Kirkham, was taking part for the first time.

She was joined by friends from Stepping Out Nordic walking group – who all had matching pink walking poles.

She said: “I wanted to take part because I am a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2009.

“I wanted to put something back and show support to friends and family going through it themselves.”

Her best friend, Margaret McCafferty of Wesham, said: “I’m here to support Gemma and because she really inspired me.

“She never moaned once with everything she went through. And if she can do the Race For Life, I thought then so can I.”

Also joining them was Lenka Gibbs, from Preston, taking part for the first time.

She said: “I decide to take part because my friends were doing it and because I really wanted to support Cancer Research.”

Taking part for their own special reason were The Watermelons, a team of ladies from across the Fylde coast.

The Watermelons were set up by Heather Bamber, from Wesham, who sadly died in May this year, aged 23. She was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma in October 2012.

The Watermelons had run the Race For Life twice previously with Heather – once in Preston and once in Blackpool, and wanted to fund-raise again in her memory.

They wore T-shirts with her photograph on the back.

Heather’s step-mum Caroline Sharrock said: “We like the Race For Life because it brings everyone together to have a good time, while raising money for Cancer Research.

“There’s nine of us on the team and between us we’ve raised about £1,300.”

And a team of 15 staff and students from Hodgson Academy, in Poulton, took part, including the academy’s Principal Toni Roethling.

She said: “Team Hodgson always participates in the Race for Life, but this year we have our largest team ever in support of our lead teacher of Design technology, Ally Holmes, who is currently being treated for cancer. We also remember design technology teacher Mike Grundy, who tragically lost his battle against cancer in 2011.”

Emma Rowlandson, Cancer Research events manager, told the crowds at the star of the event: “You all look absolutely fantastic.

“We use the phrase ‘making a difference’ so often, but that is exactly what you are doing. The money you raise will make a difference for people with cancer.

“It’s time to show cancer that hell hath no fury like a woman in pink.”

Guest of honour, Sarah Colledge, from Blackpool, officially started the race.

Sarah, who has been battling cancer for the last two years, said she had really enjoyed the experience – the first time she had taken part, she walked the 5k course.

She said: “I loved every minute. Public-speaking isn’t usually my sort of thing, but as soon as I started talking on the stage I was fine.

“I really enjoyed taking part in the walk. The atmosphere was just great.

“I got so many high-fives and such great support from people.

“I never expected there would be so many there – it was just like a line of pink as far as you could see.”

The first runner back was 16-year-old Jessica Rogers, from Blackpool, in around 23 minutes.