NEARLY three thousand women and children, mostly dressed in pink, ran and walked around Crystal Palace Park this morning to help beat cancer. Taking part for loved-ones lost or living, for strangers or for themselves, the Race for Life competitors raised thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK. Marcelin Marciniak, 12, of Norbury (who plays for the Arsenal football club under-12s) won the 5km race in 21 minutes and 18 seconds. He said: "I wanted to do it to help people with cancer. "So they have a more certain amount of time to live and have fun with their lives." His mother Sabina Marciniak, 31, finished behind him, and added: "I wanted to support people who have survived cancer and to help others. "You never know what is going to happen in your life." Many competitors had written on the backs of their shirts the names of those for whom they were taking part. Olivia Henry, 25, of Lower Sydenham, and family were running in memory of her son, Levi Anderson-Noble, who died last year from a brain tumour, three weeks after he turned 4. She said: "We wanted to contribute to the cause and we don't want anybody else to have the loss that we have had. "It is nice, really comforting to see there are so many people here - not only those that have lost people, but those who are just supporting. "It is nice to have that because when you are in a situation like that you really need it and it means everything. "And it is good to see different shapes, ages and sizes as well." Angela Best, 45, of Streatham, was running with her friend Sharon Robinson, 49, of Thornton Heath. Ms Best has been in remission from Hodgkins Lymphoma for three years and also lost three very close relatives to cancer. "I think [the race] is fantastic; it's something that really unites people as well, because it's a great atmosphere and everyone is doing it for the same reason." Ms Robinson added of her friend: "She gets better and stronger [at the race] each year. "It's nice that people can unite like this, just a pity that the whole world cannot." Melissa Victoria, 36, of Beckenham, Gill Garland, 43, of Crystal Palace, and Jenny Thomson, 29, of Beckenham, ran together after meeting as new mums. Ms Garland said: "It has been 22 years since my dad died of cancer, when he was 62. "It really brings it home when you see everybody's backs with the messages on them. "I saw one that said they were running for a six-year-old girl." Cancer Research UK said 2,016 people entered today's 5km race and 728 entered the 10km. The total amount raised in today's event has yet to be announced. The Race for Life in LLoyd Park is due to take place on Sunday July 14.
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