Belfast Telegraph

In Pictures: Race for Life Stormont 2014 - Women in the pink for fight against cancer

8,000 join big race to help fund vital research

By Amanda Ferguson

One day we will beat cancer. That was the thought spurring on more than 8,000 inspiring women and girls from across Northern Ireland as they took to Cancer Research UK's Race for Life course at the Stormont estate.

It was a fun but emotional day for everyone taking part in two five kilometre women's only events yesterday, many in memory of their relatives.

The rain stayed off for a mix of cancer survivors and those who have lost friends and family to the cruel disease as they walked, jogged and ran the course to raise funds for Cancer Research UK's life-saving work.

Organisers explained by raising money through Race for Life, people are helping Cancer Research UK's doctors, nurses and scientists make advances in research which will help more men, women and children survive.

First across the finish line on Sunday morning, in just under 19 minutes, was Queen's University Belfast student Maria Selivaara from Finland.

"I am really pleased, the weather is great and the event is amazing," she said. "Unfortunately I lost my father to cancer many years ago so I was running for him. The atmosphere is superb and it is a great way to raise money."

Philip Magill from Scarva was cheering on his partner Michelle Farell and his daughter Jasmine as they took on the 5k challenge.

Jasmine (10) explained she took part to support her eight-year-old sister Georgie, a sarcoma cancer patient.

Maura Gilmore (38) from Kircubbin, who previously shared her cancer story with Belfast Telegraph readers, said Sunday's event was a "turning point" in her health and life journey.

The single mother-of-two, who underwent a bilateral mastectomy and had her ovaries removed, said she was thrilled to have crossed the finish line after being too ill to take part last year.

"I was emotional travelling up to Race for Life thinking about what it represented," she said.

"I feel elated to have finished it.

"I had been looking at pictures of myself from last year when I was bald and having poison injected into me and thinking look at where I am now.

"Hopefully I will do Race for Life every year now."

Jean Walsh from Cancer Research UK told the Belfast Telegraph the entire team was thrilled that Race for Life has been another huge success and that fundraisers were on course to match, if not beat, last year's £345,000 sponsorship.

Meanwhile, Race for Life compere and Cool FM DJ Sonya Mac began her 'Sonya's 6 Mac-athon challenge' yesterday in memory of her father James who lost his fight with cancer in June last year, just eight days after attending the 2013 Race For Life event. Sonya in running six marathons, in six counties in six weeks.

To get involved visit sonyamac.co.uk or for more on Cancer Research UK's Race for Life go to: raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org

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