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Race for Life: Why we're running ...

By Staff Reporter

Amy McDowell (21) from Coleraine: "My dad, John, was diagnosed with skin cancer in August so that motivated me to do Race for Life. He is kind of in remission at the minute. He's clear, he just has to have a check up in six months to make sure the cancer is gone.

Cancer impacts the whole family. You have to all pull together to help the person out who has cancer. I know my dad tried not to let it show it effected him but you still have to give him that support.

I think Race for Life is amazing. There is no way I could have taken part in that 5k without all those people around me. The people are so motivating and everyone standing round cheering at you helps to spur you on.

It's nice that it is all women, because they all help you, but it's nice seeing the men coming out to support, cheering from the side. It's really emotional whenever you see the other people in the race, with posters on their back or pictures of who they are supporting. I have raised about £150."

Carla McGeown (24) from Craigavon: "Race for Life is great. I was so emotional from start to finish because it was my Granda's anniversary on Saturday. A year dead , so I said I would do this to mark it.

Coming through that finishing line I was welling up, balling my eyes out. It was amazing. It really was. We have all raised money. We have a justgiving page and we have our own sponsorship forms.

My target was £150 and I've got over that so far. Everyone is so generous because it is cancer and we were going to try and hit £500 but I think we're going to get well over that. It was my first year but my friend's third year. I am so glad I've done it. I wouldn't mind if men took part but with it being just women you don't really feel paranoid, you don't really care because everyone is the same.If men took part it might feel more like a competition"

Una Kelly (42) from Ballycastle: "My mother-in-law, Anne Kelly, was diagnosed with cancer in March. Since then she has had her mastectomy, she has started chemo.

She is at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald and they have been absolutely fantastic. The speed they have dealt with her at, the consultant, everyone has been just unbelievable for her. She got her scan results and they said that it came back clear so we are very hopeful that once her chemo is over, and radiotherapy, she will be free of cancer.

We have been fundraising, collecting sponsorship. My three children all ran it today too. Race for Life is absolutely unbelievable. Just seeing everybody at the start, with the Mexican wave, and the atmosphere, everyone encouraging each other just pushed us on.

The girls from the camogie club in Ballycastle have all come up and done it too."

Orlath Benson (22) from Belfast: "Oscar Knox's story just touched me. His family were an inspiration to everybody. The way they dealt with everything and the way they were portrayed in the media, they were amazing.I don't know how they did it.

We have been raising money as a group. There were seven of us doing Race for Life. We have raised the guts of about £800.

There has been a brilliant atmosphere today. I have loved it. I thought it would be tougher but it was fine. It was brilliant.

When I was at the top of the hill looking down and all you could see was a sea of pink it was amazing. It was emotional going round because you were reading everyone's stories on the back of their T-shirts. At stages we were saying to each other we felt like crying. I would encourage women to go for it. Take part. It's a brilliant day out. Go for it."

Lynn Haugh (34) from Kilkeel: "My husband had Hodgkins disease in 2001 and he has been remission, but my mum lost the fight in 2004. She was aged 44.

This is my third year taking part. I am six months pregnant so it took 45 minutes, it wasn't bad. Race for Life is absolutely brilliant. The atmosphere and the money it brings in is amazing.

I was emotional going round. I was thinking I am doing it for my mum and for my husband and just kept going. It is nice to finish and know you've done something good and raised money. I've raised £250."

Chloe McDowell (26) from Kilclief: "I ran in memory of my cousin Jane Lee. She died on December 20 from cancer. She fought it for four years but in the end it was just too much, so I wanted to do it for her.

Today has been overwhelming. It has been a very emotional day. But I am very proud of myself for doing it and my friend Sarah too. It is special being all women. A lot of women would be quite intimidated doing something like this with men. Everyone gets behind each other and the whole way along there are other women supporting you and cheering you on."

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