Step into Spring with Race for Life in Essex

SPRING is in the air and as the days get longer, Cancer Research UK is urging Essex women to get into step with Race for Life. Entering Race for Life is the ideal way for women of all ages, shapes and sizes to motivate themselves to become more active.

SPRING is in the air and as the days get longer, Cancer Research UK is urging Essex women to get into step with Race for Life.

Entering Race for Life is the ideal way for women of all ages, shapes and sizes to motivate themselves to become more active as they get ready to walk, jog or run all across Essex this summer.

Becoming more active has benefits that will go on well after the event, as research shows that even regular, moderate physical activity can help reduce the risk of cancer. Moderate activity is anything that leaves you feeling warm and slightly out of breath - it can be anything from a brisk walk to a spot of gardening.

Being physically active could help to prevent thousands of cancer cases in the UK every year. Not only does it help to maintain a healthy body weight but it also has a protective effect in itself. Studies show that it can reduce the risk of bowel cancer by a quarter and the risk of breast cancer by 20-40 per cent.

Race for Life is the UK's largest women-only fundraising event series where all the money raised goes to fund Cancer Research UK's life-saving work.

The Chelmsford event is one of just 29 across the UK where women have the choice of taking part in the traditional 5km Race for Life route or stepping up the challenge to 10km by continuing round the course for a second time.

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This year Cancer Research UK is encouraging 7200 women to enter Race for Life at Hylands Park, Chelmsford. When they register they will have the option to take part in the 10km course, without having to pay an additional entry fee.

Essex event manager for Race for Life, Gill Burgess, said: "Race for Life is not a competitive event. It's about women of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels coming together to share amazing moments and help beat cancer.

"They can walk, jog or run the 5km or 10km course and revel in Race for Life's unique atmosphere of sisterhood.

"Many women are put off entering Race for Life because they think they won't be able to complete the route. But we know that women often cover several kilometres on an average shopping trip, without even realising it, so taking part in Race for Life is definitely achievable."

Doing some training offers benefits for everyone - from ladies planning to stroll round the 5km course chatting to their friends to women determined to double the distance and push themselves to complete race 10km.

Ms Burgess added: "Some women don't do any training for their Race for Life event but it's healthier and safer to do some exercise before the day. You don't need to go out and pound the pavements - unless you really want to!

"Walking is a great form of exercise and it's really easy to fit some extra steps into your day, especially now spring is here.

"To get started, why not get off the bus a couple of stops earlier or take the stairs at work instead of the lift."

To help women get ready for the Essex 5km Race for Life and Chelmsford Race 10km, Cancer Research UK has teamed up with celebrity fitness trainer Lucy Wyndham-Read and devised training plans for different levels of ability.

Free and easy to download from the Race for Life website, there are six-week training plans designed for walkers, joggers or runners. They feature guidance on warming up and stretching, as well as motivation.

"One-in-three people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives," said Ms Burgess.

"But the good news is that more people are beating the disease than ever before. Cancer Research UK's work is at the heart of that progress. By helping to raise money through Race for Life, our supporters are turning hope into reality."

In 2009, 30,000 women walked, jogged or ran Race for Life in Essex and raised an incredible �1.7 million.

This year, more than 21,000 participants have already signed up and organisers are hoping that 34,500 women will help hit a fundraising target of �1.95 million.

This money is crucial to fund Cancer Research UK's life-saving work.

The charity supports the work of scientists, doctors and nurses who are dedicated to curing cancer by understanding its causes and investigating how best to prevent, diagnose and treat it. Cancer Research UK funds world-class research and clinical trials throughout the South East and Essex.

Women in Basildon, Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea can take part in a clinical trial for a certain type of breast cancer which can be difficult to treat. This important study is looking at whether two new chemotherapy drugs could benefit these women and, if successful, it will mean doctors have much needed new treatment options for this type of breast cancer.

Clinical trials like this are vital to help find new and better ways to treat cancer to improve survival.

To enter Race for Life, and download the free training plans, visit Women can also enter by calling 0871 641 1111.