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1,500 take on Pretty Muddy at Weston Park – and raise £71,000 for Cancer Research

More than 1,500 people raced around 5km of a mud-covered obstacle course for charity – raising £71,000 in the process.

A Pretty Muddy selfie
A Pretty Muddy selfie

Pretty Muddy, one of Cancer Research's flagship fundraisers, attracted a host of runners to take on the course at Weston Park on Saturday morning.

In a similar vein to Race for Life the runners lined up wearing the familiar pink T-shirts, but unlike Race for Life the course they tackled included some very different obstacles.

The 5k route featured a number of challenges – asking people to scramble over giant inflatable A-frames and slide into a pool of muddy water, or to drag themselves under a giant net, crawling through the mud to continue their efforts.

Charlotte Hadwen from Telford crosses the finish line at Pretty Muddy
No escaping the mud at Pretty Muddy
The runners were left covered in mud after the course

Hundreds of adults lined up for the fundraiser, but there were also plenty of children taking part in the younger people's race, which took place before the main event, where three groups of intrepid runners set off around the course.

While nearly everyone was lined up for a fun run through the mud, for many there are more poignant reasons for wanting to take part.

Youngsters Jolina French, 12, and Jessica Simpson, 10, both from Loggerheads, had taken on the course – with both having good reasons to support the charity.

The runners were left covered in mud after the course
The runners were left covered in mud after the course
Braving the slide at the end of the course

Jolina's mum, Ros French, 52, is a year on from finishing radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer, while Jessica's mum, Sarah Simpson, 46, has lost two uncles to the disease.

Ros said: "I think the treatment I had, and the early diagnosis, because my cancer was picked up on a routine mammogram, if that research had not taken place there is no doubt I would not be here."

Lyndsay Bebb, 50, and Wendy Llewellyn were joined by their daughters, Jess Bebb and Sophie Llewellyn, for the event.

Landing in the pool of mud at the end of the course
Many of the runners were left covered in mud after the course
Many of the runners were left covered in mud after the course

Lyndsay, from Ellesmere, has lost both her mother and her sister to cancer – both while only in their 40s.

Speaking about her sister Louise, who died at 41 in 2018, she said: "There was nothing they could do so you just feel helpless.

"Now I just want to get involved and do something."

Laura Mitchell and Gemma Anderson from Telford who took on the Pretty Muddy course at Weston Park.
Braving the slide at the end of the course
Braving the slide at the end of the course

Wendy, whose mum has just finished treatment for cancer, said it was a cause she wanted to support – as well as being there for her friend.

She said: "You just want to get the message out there and support people and help everyone. Everyone has a story of how it has affected them and you never know if you might be the next one."

Friends Ruth Duckworth, 41, and Laura Rodriguez-Taylor, 42, from Wolverhampton, both finished the event covered in mud – but pleased at their efforts.

Harry Clews and Kayla Dixon with Kayla's sister Sky, 8, at the Pretty Muddy event at Weston Park.
The Bagley family from Cannock ahead of the Pretty Muddy event
The youngsters set off at the start of the race

Both had personal reason for wanting to support the event, with Laura explaining: "My mum got diagnosed with a low grade lymphoma and even though she is not having treatment it has been a driver for me to come and do this."

Ruth said her mum had survived non-Hodgkin's lymphoma ten years ago, and added: "I did not expect it to be quite so emotional. I was actually crying at the start line knowing it is about raising money for Cancer Research."

Jane Redmond, press officer for Cancer Research in the West Midlands, said that it was great to see so many people supporting an event that helps raise a large amount of vital funding for the charity.

The Nacho Average Squad from Telford.
Some of the youngsters taking part in the Pretty Muddy event at Weston Park
Jolina French from Ellesmere tackling the Pretty Muddy course

"It is massively important, it really is a flagship event for us and we really do rely on the support of people at events like this. It is obviously not the only fundraising event we do but it is a very important one."

Gemma Anderson from Telford who took on the Pretty Muddy course at Weston Park
Laura Mitchell and Gemma Anderson from Telford.
Kat Keane from Perton.
Donna Peasley and Kat Keane from Perton.
Donna Peasley and Kat Keane from Perton.
Some of the youngsters make their way around the course

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