Race for Life

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Runners in a Race for Life wear a card in memory of the people they know affected by cancer.

Race for Life is a series of fundraising events for women only, organised by charity Cancer Research UK. They involve running, jogging or walking a 5-kilometre course and raising sponsorship for doing so. The money raises funds for cancer research in all 200 types of cancer. The event's gender segregated status has led to some complaints and the formation of alternative men's events including the short lived 5K Run for Moore.


Race For Life 2011, on the grounds of the Cheltenham Race Course.
Race For Life 2011 at Parker's Piece, Cambridge.

The Imperial Cancer Research Fund identifies Jim Cowan as having the original idea for the Race for Life.[1] The Fund then engaged Mr. Cowan to organize and act as race director for the first Race for Life event,[1] which took place in 1994 in Battersea Park, London, where 750 participants raised £48,000.[citation needed] The following year the race was extended to 6 venues and had 4,500 participants with £210,000 raised.[citation needed] It continued to grow year on year to become one of the UK's largest fundraising events, which in 2006 involved 240 races, 750,000 participants and raised £46 million.[citation needed] Since Race for Life began in 1994, 6 million participants across the UK have raised over £493 million for the charity.[2] Notable participants include Jane Tomlinson, whose first fundraising event was a Race for Life in 2001 after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She went on to raise over £1.75 million for charity before her death in 2007.[3] In 2009 actresses Laila Morse and Lynda Bellingham became a Race for Life ambassadors in memory of Wendy Richard and Jade Goody, both of whom had recently died from cancer.[4]

The rules were amended in 2012 to allow boys up to age 12 to participate following a determined campaign by Claire Parke.[5]

Run for Moore[edit]

Following complaints from John Taylor claiming that the Race for Life was in breach of Section 29 of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act (which states it is illegal to discriminate in the provision of goods, facilities and services), the Equal Opportunities Commission wrote to Cancer Research UK which then launched the 5 km Run for Moore.[6]

The proceeds from this event only went towards bowel cancer research and campaigns. The venture was discontinued in 2010.[not in citation given][7] Continued legal & press attention has led Cancer UK to consider a non-discriminatory entrance policy.[citation needed]

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