The Race for Life events take place in our towns across Sussex and attract thousands of fundraisers each year. They are happy, crowded and uplifiting events but last year they had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. The Race for Life fundraisers bring in millions of pounds for Cancer Research, and like many charities, the pandemic has hit them hard.
Cancer Research was forced to cancel 400 of its mass-participation events last year but the charity wants to tell its supporters that cancer never stops and it is vital that fundraising can continue in the fight against the disease which affect so many.
This year has not got off to the best start in terms of Covid-19, but with a vaccination programme being rolled out it is hoped there are brighter times around the corner.
With this in mind, the charity’s much-loved events are aiming to return to Sussex later in the year but with socially distanced measures to help keep participants safe.
Cancer Research Uk is also offering a special offer to anyone who signs up this January. Participants who get in before the end of the month can claim a special 30 per cent off the entry fee by using the code JAN2021.
A spokesman from Cancer Research UK said: “Covid-19 has caused a devastating loss of research funding. Cancer Research UK is predicting a staggering £300 million drop in income over the next three years which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk.
“That’s why the charity is calling on men, women and children to fight back against the devastating disease by entering a Race for Life event. Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives.
“Every year, around 52,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in the South East and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.”
Cancer affects so many lives and those who take part in the Race for Life event are often running as cancer survivors or in memory of someone who has sadly died after a battle with cancer. The Race for Life events used to be for women but are now open to everyone. Everyone of all ages and abilities is invited to take part in the events.
Jenny Ainsworth, Cancer Research UK’s event manager for Sussex, said: “All 400 mass-participation Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So this year, more than ever, we need people to come together and help beat the disease.
“The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down. But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.
“Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on our supporters.
“Our Race for Life events are open to all and we’re sending a heart-felt message to everyone to come together in 2021.
“As always at our events, the health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers is our top priority.
“It may be that events look a little different this year but we are working proactively with our venues and suppliers to deliver a socially distanced but great experience.”
Participants will set off on the course either alone or in small socially distanced groups.
Hand sanitiser will also be provided at all events with participants encouraged to use it before and after the event.
Jenny added: “Although the word race features in the name, our events are not competitive.
“Instead, Race for Life is about our doctors, nurses and scientists working as hard and fast as possible to help more people survive.
“We’ll ask participants to respect social distancing before, during and after the event.
“It means that this year people should refrain from hugging others at the finish line.
“But we promise our events will remain fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting.
“Participants, all united in a common cause to beat cancer, take part at their own pace. For some people, the Race for Life is literally a walk in the park. Slow and steady still wins.
“For others, it’s a jog or a run. But what is for certain is we’re looking forward to welcoming people across Sussex back.”
Of course, with the uncertainty that has been part of our everyday lives for just under a year, event organisers at Cancer Research are mindful that there is a possibility this year’s Race for Life events may also have to be cancelled.
Jenny added: “We hope that none of our Race for Life events are cancelled in 2021 and will do everything we can to keep people safe.
“If we do have to cancel any of our events we will let participants know as soon as possible and they will be entitled to a refund.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 3km, 5km, 10km, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.
This year is the 20th anniversary of Tesco’s partnership with Race for Life.
Money raised through Race for Life events funds world-class research to help beat 200 types of cancer – including bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia.
Jenny explained Race for Life wasn’t just about raising money for the charity.
She said: “The Race for Life is a powerful, inspirational movement which unites participants in Sussex with people across the South East and the whole of the UK.
“People get together and remember loved ones lost, or celebrate the lives of those who have survived. At the same time, they are helping to make a difference to people with the disease, right now.
“Please go to the Race for Life website, choose an event, and sign up today.”
To enter race for Life or find out more about the events in your area visit www.raceforlife.org
There are six events to choose from in Sussex and all take place in June and July.
The first is in Horsham on June 6, then Hastings on June 13, Eastbourne on June 20, Worthing on June 20, Crawley on June 26 and Brighton has events on both July 3 and 4.
Sign up online.