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In Pictures: Runners young and old get muddy in Race for Life event

There was mud and water and a feeling of fun as adults and children alike took on a charity running challenge.

Some of those running had been through the wars, but were still smiling
Some of those running had been through the wars, but were still smiling

Thousands of runners descended on Sandwell Country Park on Saturday to take part in the Race for Life Pretty Muddy event, a five kilometre run around the grounds of the park near West Bromwich.

The runners were also subjected along the way to 10 different obstacles to keep them on their toes and get them muddy, all while being cheered on by friends and family.

On a crisp and warm autumn morning, many of those taking part were dressed in fancy dress or wearing pink items and were given a warm-up by representatives of Cancer Research UK before being sent on their way.

Many of the participants in the event had either suffered from cancer, had family members who had either died or been treated for cancer or worked with people who had been affected by the disease.

It was the last event of a packed summer and autumn of Race for Life events, which had raised more than £70,000 for Cancer Research UK.

The day opened with the Pretty Muddy Kids and Adults event, allowing any child up to the age of 13 to take on the 5k course alongside supporting adults.

Rachael and Adam Mejdi get on their best fancy dress for the run ahead
Volunteers were on hand to help provide a little extra incentive to keep running
Youngsters in the children's race with adults helping them along the way

Rachael Mejdi from Perry Barr was running the event alongside her eight-year-old son Adam, and the 47-year-old said it was all about teaching her son to treat such events as normal and standard.

She said: "I want Adam to be able to do events like this as a normal event, not just a special event, to remember that supporting a charity is an everyday thing.

"We're all feeling nervous about it and I wish I'd done a bit more training, but we're here and we've got the outfits on, so we're ready to go."

There were staggered times for the younger runners, setting off every 15 minutes, and those taking part were asked to keep to their bubbles.

Sarah Poole from West Bromwich was there to support her daughters, 10-year-old Bethany and seven-year-old Olivia, and said it was a great way to support an important cancer charity.

She said: "My grandparents Brenda Greenaway and Nancy Brownsword both died of cancer, so it's important to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and help those affected by cancer.

"It's great to see everyone here and the children are really excited and the course looks like great fun, so I hope they have fun doing it today."

Following the running of the youngsters event, the adults were able to get ready to take on the three-mile course and the muddy obstacles.

Even near the end, some of the runners were athletically beating the obstacles
Isla Shakespeare, Bethany and Olivia Poole and Edie and Emmi Shakespeare put on their best pink for the run
Pink was the colour of the day as the runners got their challenge underway
The mud lived up to its name, with some of the participants getting caked in it
The Oldbury Health centre team were ready to go and finish as a team

A group of staff from Oldbury Health Centre were taking part in the day, with many of the participants having worked closely with cancer patients.

Receptionist Lisa Carpenter has been treated for leukaemia and said it was that experience which made her pleased to see events like the run still going on.

She said: "It really fills my heart to see these events taking place because I have benefitted from the care it provides, so it's good to give back and do something positive for it.

"We'll work together and encourage everyone on today, so the group will enjoy the day."

GP Saira Khan said she was excited to be able to get out and do something as part of a group again and help tackle something she had seen on a regular basis in her work.

She said: "Cancer doesn't just affect the person, it affects the family and the people caring for them and can be a real issue in regards to mental health.

"It will be worth a bit of pain today to help people and we have raised a bit of money as a team, which will go back into research to make cancer a much more treatable thing."

The area events manager for the Midlands for Cancer Research UK, Claire Edgerton, said it was great to be able to put on events such as this after such a difficult 18 months.

She said: "We're pleased to be able to do this in such a beautiful location with lots of returning participants and volunteers who are looking forward to going around this park.

"The last year has been a real struggle for us, so we're just glad to be back where we want to be and raise money for such a great cause.

"We've had such a great response and it's nice to know that people want to come back and take part after so long away, so I'm really excited about what has happened."

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