Read inspiring stories from competitors in Pretty Muddy at Trinity Park in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 June 2017 | UPDATED: 23:29 24 June 2017
"Just remember this is beating cancer", declared an announcer, as a sea of women in pink prepared to take on a grubby race in Ipswich for charity.
Each runner had their own story as to why they signed up for Pretty Muddy at Trinity Park today, but they all had one thing in common.
Slipping, sliding and crawling their way around the 5K obstacle course, the competitors crossed the finish line covered head to toe in dirt.
The women-only event is set to bring in more than £160,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Karen Clark, 38, took part for her mother-in-law Sharon Clark, who is in remission with a rare form of Leukaemia.
Cancer Research UK paid £100,000 for Sharon’s stem cell transplant, and her family have been doing various fundraising events for the charity ever since.
Karen, who entered the race with friend Claire Livingstone, 36, said: “We are doing everything we can to give back because they have given us more time with Sharon.
“It’s an amazing cause. It’s very close to home for me but it’s on everyone’s doorstep.
“It’s a lovely atmosphere. All these events are lovely because we are all united for the same thing.”
Breast cancer survivors Karen Macmillan, 56, and Nicky Cottington, 42, ran side by side.
Karen, who was diagnosed with the disease 16 years ago and has had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, travelled to Ipswich from Devon for the race.
Nicky said: “I had breast cancer last year and I just wanted to do it [Pretty Muddy] with a group of friends who have been really supportive to me. So it’s a celebration really.
“It’s really inspiring and there is a real positivity and it’s good to do some exercise.”
Competitor Denise Edwins, 56, has seen loved ones taken by cancer, and had her own battle with the condition in 2010.
She said: “I’m doing it in memory of a lot of friends who have had cancer and I have lost, and also those who are still fighting it.
“It’s just heartbreaking to see their families have to deal with it and cope seeing them in pain.
“I’m doing this to raise awareness, for research and to help people realise that it can be treated and there are lots of different therapies out there, and lots of people who care for those who have cancer.
“It’s a great vibe. There are lots of different people here and they all have someone they are thinking about and remembering.”
Colleagues Dawn Heeley, 39, Belinda Stephenson, 50, Janet Martin, 57, and Karen Lambert, 43, together took on Pretty Muddy for the first time.
The group, who work for Goldstar Transport in Felixstowe, have raised more than £1,000 between them for the cause.
Janet said she hoped the money collected from the event would help to eventually find a cure for cancer.
Fourteen-year-old Mia Farthing ran with her auntie Sharon Farthing, 40, in memory of her ‘Nanny Janny’, who died nine months ago after a battle with cancer.
Mia said the feel of the event was “really uplifting and supportive”, while Sharon said it had been very well organised.
The Pretty Muddy event coincided with what have been the 91st birthday of Laura Bass’s grandfather, who died of cancer three years ago.
“So it’s quite fitting that I’m here doing it,” said 34-year-old Laura, who was running with friend Wendy Banes, 34.
She added: “It’s good for people to keep coming here and raising money because there will always be something else that needs investigating, so we need to keep the research going for whatever is needed.”
Wendy, who has taken part in Pretty Muddy three times, said: “It’s a lovely atmosphere - there is a sense of togetherness.”
Laura Wilson, 38, Claire Rose, 31, and Felicity Rose, 34, ran together, and they said they signed up to have fun, but also because they had all been affected by cancer.
Rachel Parratt, area event manager for Cancer Research UK, said around 1,250 women took part.
She added: “It went amazingly well. It was fantastic, a really good event.
“The ladies seemed to have great fun on the obstacles. There was some real banter between the ladies of Ipswich while they were on the course. Everyone was up for a laugh, which was lovely.”
Rachel gave thanks to volunteers from the Air Cadets, Norfolk & Suffolk 4x4 Response and St John Ambulance.