SOUTHEND was awash with pink as hundreds of women turned out for this year’s Southend Race For Life.

More than 1,900 women, walked jogged and ran 5km this morning in memory of loved ones touched by cancer.

The women and children refused to let the grim weather put them off as they completed the course at Garon Park in Eastern Avenue.

It is expected that this year the 1,953 runners will raise in excess of £127,500 for charity.

Gill Burgess, event manager said: “We are really pleased with this year’s turn out.

“We always get a really good response from the ladies in Southend.

“We often see the same faces which goes to show just how much support we have here.

“We also have really supportive volunteers and there has been a great atmosphere here today.

“Team Essex are amazing.”

Before the race at 11am there was a mass aerobics warm-up routine.

First over the line was Katie Spicer, 35, who runs for Leigh Striders running club.

She said: “It is the first time I have taken part in the event and I am running for my friend’s husband.

“I am really pleased to have come first.

“This is a brilliant event and there is an amazing atmosphere here today.”

Mrs Spicer was closely followed by eight-year-old Freddie Hockey from Rayleigh.

Since 1994 more than five million women have helped raise more than £362million for Cancer Research UK.

Gill added: “The money will help a lot of people. It will go for clinical trials and will pay for drugs and it will save lives, so it is fantastic.”

Natasha Dickinson, head of Race for Life, said: “Race for Life is something that is emotional and precious to the women who take part as cancer touches the lives of so many people.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re seven or 70, if you are really fit, or don’t like running at all.

“Race for Life is about all women, coming together, inspiring each other and united for one cause – raising money to beat cancer.”