Himley Park turns pink as Race for Life returns

It was a sea of pink and smiles as Cancer Research's Race for Life returned to Dudley.

Race for Life at Himley Hall
Race for Life at Himley Hall

After a year's hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, the popular fundraising event returned to Himley Park on Sunday.

Hundreds of people descended on the beauty spot to take part in either the 3k or 5k race, all in the name of charity.

Among those taking part on Sunday was 22-year-old Anna Cartlidge who was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma five weeks ago. Anna from Oldbury said: "So I was only diagnosed five weeks ago, as it was missed in November.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster, and obviously a massive shock. It's really changed my perspective on things – I want to live life to the max.

"I start my chemotherapy on Tuesday and I have six months of that – once I've finished I've arranged a sky dive.

Anna Cartlidge, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, was among those taking part in Race for Life
Janet Potter from Codsall with daughter Helen Jolly from Sutton Coldfield

"There's 17 of us all together doing the 3k. It's amazing they are all joining me, I'm so overwhelmed. I've raised £1,300 so far."

Anna's mother, 46-year-old Jennie Deakin, said: "All these people taking part shows what a wonderful person Anna is.

"It's been emotional. I'm so proud of her. She's taking it all in her stride – she's not letting it phase her."

Race for Life at Himley Hall
Mat, Logan and Jenny Johnson from Pelsall

Another runner who had faced cancer himself was Adrian Webb, who took part after being told he had 12 months to live - but today he is cancer-free.

He said: “It’s the first race I’ve ever done but my wife and daughter have done it for me in the past. It meant the world to me and my family to hear my story broadcast at the start line.

"I couldn’t help but cry happy tears because it was amazing to see how it touched so many people emotionally. To see everyone in the open air coming together like that was so special and the support I had from people was just phenomenal.

"I got so much positive energy from being there and I felt so inspired that I was able to race round the 5k course and beat my goal.”

Adrian Webb, centre, and his team

Four-year-old Logan Johnson completed the 3k dressed as a superhero with his parents, Matt, 31, and Jenny, 39. Matt, from Pelsall, said: "It was more to teach Logan about charity – and he's raised £90 so far. He already wants to do another one next year.

"Jenny has lost a couple of work colleagues to cancer and my grandad had cancer of the windpipe. Taking part in this was back to some kind of normality after Covid."

Angelina Obi, 39, from Tamworth, was taking part in her first Race of Life for her dad who died of cancer 18 years ago. She was joined for the 5k race by work colleague Marie Benton, 42, from Burntwood.

Alex Fletcher from Halesowen came first in the 3k run
Race for Life at Himley Hall

Angelina said: "My dad had cancer of the liver, so I wanted to run in his memory. We've raised £365 so far. This is the first Race for Life I've done – I have lost a lot of weight this year so I have been doing lots of exercise, so I wanted to see if I could do something like this."

Helen Jolly, 38, from Sutton Coldfield, was joined by her mother Janet Potter, 69, from Codsall. Helen said: "We do it every year. My grandad died of cancer. I am a solicitor too, I deal with people's estates when they die and there's a lot of cancer there.

"I love that every year that we come the statistics are getting better – it started off as one in ten people survive, then one in five and now it's like its one in two.

"We've been doing it for years and years.You can really see things improving with the treatments. I support the charity a lot through work too."

Paula Young, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the West Midlands, said: “It was a wonderful, if very emotional day. We’d like to thank each and every single person who turned up and helped make it so special. Thanks to their support we’ve raised more than £40,000 so far to help beat cancer.

"As a charity, we were devastated when all our events were cancelled last year due to Covid, but we’re determined to reach our goal of seeing three in four people survive cancer by 2034.”

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