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Charity runners battle the cold for Cancer Research


On Sunday 28 February, over 3,000 runners defeated the elements to run 10km, 5km or 2.5km at the first ever Cancer Research UK Manchester Winter Run.

Families, friends and fundraisers ran a winter-themed course at the Etihad Campus which included special zones to entertain and encourage participants on their way.

Whilst many were looking for a personal best time, for others this was the fulfilment of a personal goal after months of training and hard work.

A colourful selection of fancy dress was on show, with many choosing to dress up as winter characters, and raise crucial funds for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work.

Before they began runners were shown to the start line by friendly ‘snowmen’, some of whom were spraying the crowds with simulated snow. Experts from Nuffield Health helped to get everyone prepped and ready to run with a winter themed warm up, before a huge blast of snow into the air signalled the start of the race.

Not far into the route runners reached the iconic Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City FC, were they were entertained by a samba band who helped runners keep their tempo and take their minds off the task at hand. Further along the course was the ‘Penguin Party’ hosted by local radio station Key 103, which saw dozens of penguin characters dance and cheer on the crowds to inspirational backing music. On the way to completing their challenge runners also experienced a giant snow-zone which momentarily transported them into the middle of a blizzard.

After a final stretch to the finish line everybody was greeted by Cancer Research UK Winter Run Series ‘polar bears’ who offered the cold, but proud, runners a congratulatory hug and awarded the much coveted medals.

The fastest finisher in the main 10km event was Mark O’Brien who completed the course in an impressive 35 minutes flat. Chris Stanford and Mikel Berdud were not far behind, both clocking times under 36 minutes. The fastest 10km female was Jenny Burrage (40:12) with Samantha Jones and Laura Pettifer completing the top three.

Clive Sanders, Head of Events at Cancer Research UK, said: “Every day, around 110 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West*, so hosting the Winter Run in Manchester has been a great opportunity to raise much-needed funds and help give cancer the cold shoulder.

“Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival rates double in the last forty years. We couldn’t have made that progress without the generosity and dedication of our supporters, so we’re incredibly grateful to the thousands of runners who took to the chilly streets of the Etihad Campus”.

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Tony Flynn

SalfordOnline.com's Local History Editor and Senior Reporter.