Stride For Life Takes Place On St Mary’s

Islanders and visitors showed their support for the battle against cancer yesterday during the annual Stride for Life.

71 people ran or walked a 5 kilometre circuit around St Mary’s yesterday as part of the fundraiser.

A banner, headed ‘Isles of Scilly Versus Cancer’ was hung on the side of Tideline. Messages remembering loved ones lost to the disease were written beneath.

The gathered crowd also observed a minute’s silence before the 11am start to remember those who had died from the disease.

Organiser Beryl Read thinks that moment of reflection was important as it emphasises the seriousness of the event and why it’s organised

President of Cancer Research UK in Scilly, Professor Michael Whitehouse, helped with the organisation and handed out medals to those completing the race. Michael has a holiday home here and is now retired but he spent his working career working in cancer care, running a large cancer research unit in Wessex.

He said it’s fantastic how people in Scilly always turn out to support these events.

During his lifetime, Michael said he’s seen treatment for the disease transformed with more patients surviving and living long lives and he says that progress is funded by events like Stride for Life.

Michael said cancer is a very frightening word for many people but increasingly it’s something that can be managed. And he said it’s one of the most rewarding areas of medicine to work in because of the progress that’s being made.

Andy King from St Mary’s finished the 5 km running race first in 23 minutes and 1 second. He said the heat made it tough particularly on the hillier stretches and the climb up past Trewince.

14-year-old Ali Palmer of Worcestershire came second. A keen runner, he only decided to enter the event yesterday morning after his mum told him it was taking place.

Helen Pearce was the first woman home, and came in in joint third. She said it was a hot day for a run, but wanted to support the charity.

Bryher resident Rob Lea ran with Helen. He said for such a low-lying island, the course around St Mary’s is remarkably hilly and it felt “like you were always going up or down.”

Sybil Pugh was in charge of the stall selling donated cakes, many of which were baked by youngsters to pay for their Olympic football trip. And she said plenty of the runners where buying cakes ready for a treat on their return from the race!

Beryl Read says that they’ve changed the date of the run to July because last year it was a bit too close to other charity events. She added they’ll definitely be organising something next year although the date hasn’t been set yet.

You can see photos from this year’s Stride for Life here.