Sunshine and smiles for Womens Cancer Challenge 5k

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WITH a total of 350 island ladies taking part, the 2011 Womens Cancer Challenge 5k held on Saturday, May 7, proved once again a success with smiles all round as participants completed the Castle Grounds course in glorious sunshine.

First across the finish line, in a time of 21minutes and 54 seconds, was Lewis lass Marina Murray, currently busy in training as part of the Western Isles ladies football team for this year’s Island Games in the Isle of Wight.

“Training is where my finishing time came from as we’ve been bombing it up and down the pitch with the football team since Christmas!” laughs Marina, who was very pleased to be number one this year after narrowly missing out on the top spot at the 2010 event.

For Marina though, who has the experience of a number of close family members and neighbours having been through or currently being treated for cancer, the annual Challenge is more than just about coming first.

She continues: “Knowing people who have been through or are going through cancer treatment gives you a real reason to take part. It helps you to support the cause and raise awareness of cancer in the Western Isles.

“It’s not just about the race. The event means a lot to so many people and let’s those suffering know that there are people out there who care and who want to help and raise money towards Cancer Research UK. Long may the Challenge continue!”

Despite a few operational difficulties outwith their control, organisers of the 2011 Womens Cancer Challenge 5k, Tony and Kirsty Wade, were pleased with the success of the day.

“The weather was kind and it was great to see so many smiling faces – especially after everyone had finished!” they said.

“We were also delighted to see so many younger people taking part this year – in the long term, exercise like this is one of the most important ways to reduce cancer risk factors.”

Tony and Kirsty continued: “Congratulations to each and every person who took part and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone again in the Olympic year 2012! We’re hoping to stage the event at a later date to allow more time for people to train, and it would be fantastic if we could get even more island ladies taking part.

“The national ‘Race For Life’ series require a minimum of 1,000 entries per event and we have always though that this was unattainable. Yet, if each person who took part found one other person to take part next year we wouldn’t be far away; and considering our population base, how amazing would that be!”

So, if you want to get inspired to get fit and make the Womens Cancer Challenge 5k 2012 your goal, log onto to view all the fun and frolics of this year’s event.

Tony and Kirsty would also like to thank those who helped make the 2011 Challenge a success: “The Stornoway Trust; Callum Iain Macmillan and staff at Lews Castle College; Hebridean Water Coolers; Morag Macdonald; Gavin Earons; Doreen Kallis; the Lewis branch of Cancer Research UK; The Stornoway Gazette; David Morrison; Donnie Saunders and the staff from Isles FM; British Red Cross; Janet Macleod and ISL staff; John Kennedy; Jonathan Maciver at The Bridge Centre; Stornoway Golf Club; Eilidh Whiteford and Rod Huckbody from The Stornoway Gazette; all the Stewards without whom the event would have been possible – and anyone else who we have inadvertently forgotten, you know who you are: thanks!”

All funds raised by the 2011 Womens Cancer Challenge 5k is donated locally to the Lewis branch of Cancer Research UK. And sponsor money can now be paid into the Royal Bank of Scotland, account name ‘Women’s Cancer Challenge’, account number 00685150, sort code 83-27-12.