24 Hour Cancer Research Relay

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The Cancer Research Relay for Life 24 hour event ran from 12 noon Saturday 16th July to 12 noon Sunday and it was based at the Portsmouth Mountbatten Centre. The Portsmouth Relay is the longest running event in the UK with 20 years of history. We are all familiar with Race for Life, I joined my fellow Fareham Crusaders for Relay for Life (R4L). The majority of people walk, however, we run because that’s what we do !!

The Candle for Hope ceremony photo’d above is definitely the highlight of the day with a combination of the personal messages written on the candle bags, a choir that sang three songs and moving words from the committee, all at 10pm just after the sun has set.

As I parked up at 11am I’d brought two tents, spare clothes, food, drink and sun cream. I was full of anticipation for the weekend as it’s been a couple of years since I took part. The 24 hours are split into 48 half hours and our team of John, Eddie, Deborah, Amada, Lorraine, me and Captain Donna would share out these slots to predominantly run them all. A number of the team ran marathon distances. I’m on the way back from injury but managed 6 half hours with more walking than running but all the same I was pleased with my contribution. On top of the 7 of us there were additional miles run by guest appearances from other club members and an hours contribution from my daughter and her friend, both of who are called Laura and so were named Laura squared !!

The layout of the event is pictured below with it all revolving around the 400m track and the facilities. All of the organisation is done by fabulous volunteers and many of them like Max, Sandy & Tony have been there year after year so it was great to see them as my first relay was in 2008. I must mention Phil Jones too, I was in his team in 2008 and they have been involved in ever relay since it started !!

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Now you might think to yourself what on earth would you do while you are waiting for your next half an hour to come around, even allowing for the fact that there’s music played !!

Well, once we’d followed the Cancer survivors lap with an introduce the teams lap there was Zumba, a David Bowie tribute section, an egg & spoon lap, a 4*100m lap, tug of war, a onesies lap, the silent disco, a PJ’s lap, breakfast in the canteen, tea and coffee available all day and night, a bra & pants lap etc etc, you get the idea 🙂 !!

Out team gazebo was next to the track and we’d pitched the tents behind so his meant we had an obvious HQ with chairs and shade for chatting and relaxing.

All of the above was then complemented by friends popping by to have a chat and in many cases run. My friend Andrew also came down for two hours on Saturday evening including a run. The atmosphere grows through Saturday afternoon, it gets dark, it gets light and even though there’s bleary eyes everyone is smiling on Sunday morning. I think it’s fair to say everyone came away with a huge sense of satisfaction.

The fantastic news was that combining everyone’s fundraising efforts through the year as well as everyone’s individual just giving pages we raised £74,800 as our contribution to try and beat Cancer. Forty years ago 1 in 4 people were cured of Cancer, this has doubled to 2 in 4 and the push is on to make it 3 in 4 one day. A fantastic community based event with so much good feeling and hope for the future was rounded off with a lap of everyone walking together to the music of Heather Small & “What have you done today to make you feel proud”. Thanks to our great FCRC team, fellow “Relayers” and Jayne’s Relay Committee/ volunteers.

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