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Relay For Life a running success

Almost 400 people took part in this year’s Relay For Life in Clareville over the weekend. PHOTO/NIGEL HARRIS

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The Wairarapa community ran around the clock on Saturday night to raise money for cancer support and research.

This year’s Relay For Life took place at the Clareville Showgrounds over 17 hours, from 3pm on Saturday to 8am on Sunday. Participants took turns running or walking around the track while holding their team’s baton.

Three hundred and eighty-nine participants took part in the event. By Sunday afternoon, Wairarapa’s event had raised more than $89,000 for the Cancer Society, smashing the goal of $80,000.

That total did not include a cheque for $18,000 presented by event sponsor Property Brokers after the relay. Those funds had been raised at the annual Craig Cooper Memorial Golf Tournament in February.

Among the teams to raise the most money were Masterton’s Fortitude Gym, a group of friends known as the ‘Cancer Crushers’, kitchen and bathroom contractor Inspire Living, and the ‘Masterton Primary School Classroom Crawlers’.

Relay For Life committee member Jan McLaren said the event was a big success, made all the better by good weather.

“The college kids just raced their way through the night, sprinting as much as they could and competing with each other,” McLaren said. “Others walked a bit more sedately around the edge of the track.”

Wairarapa Cancer Society centre manager Jacinta Buchanan said 35 teams had entered this year’s relay, as well as a few individuals who ran the entire night themselves.

“There was a big competitive element this year,” Buchanan said.

Wairarapa College was the fastest team, holding on to their title from last year.

Many entrants dressed up for the event, with prizes awarded to the best-dressed. “Cancer Crushers” were one of the teams to take out an award with their specially designed t-shirts.

Entertainment kept the participants going throughout the night. A piper from the Fern and Thistle Pipe Band led the first lap of the relay, reserved for people who had been diagnosed with cancer and their carers – the ‘survivors lap’.

McLaren said this year’s candlelight ceremony had been especially moving.

“It was an exciting, fun-filled affair as well as a poignant one. People had times where they were obviously sitting on their own remembering people dear to them who had died. But otherwise they were enjoying the fun of it all and getting in with the spirit.”

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