A RECORD number of people braved the rain and mud to take on the Basildon Race for Life.

Some 3,800 people came to Gloucester Park yesterday on Sunday, battling the sun, wind, rain and mud to run or walk the five-kilometre race and to get down and dirty in the Pretty Muddy events for both children and adults.

The event, one of many organised by Cancer Research UK, sees people taking on their own challenge in memory of lost loved ones, or for those currently fighting cancer, and to celebrate those who have beaten it.

People began arriving from 8.30am, with the flag procession beginning at 9.30am at the main stage, and warm-ups before the main event began at 10am.

The first waves of the Pretty Muddy events began at 10.45am and 11.30am.

Those running included 77-year-old Gloria Young with friend Lorraine Holbrook.

Ms Young, who has survived cancer herself, was running her tenth Race for Life.

Megan Bailey, Cancer Research UK’s event manager for Essex, said the turn-out made the team “swell with pride”.

She said: “The whole day went really, really well. I think it’s fair to say we battled it a little bit – we were up against all the elements; wind, rain and a bit of sun.

“But by the end, we had lots and lots of happy faces crossing the finish line.

“What we must say is how proud we were of the amount of people that still came out to do it. We have roughly around 3,800 people taking part, which is more than last year and I think the most we have ever had.

“This is just so amazing to have people get up and come out to support us year on year.

“And it wasn’t just for the Race for Life – we had a healthy amount of people take part in all three events, the Pretty Muddy events had a lot of support.”

Megan believes the event will have raised around £200,000 for Cancer Research, and hopes the event will get even bigger and better next year.

She added: “We’re so, so proud of everyone. To have generated that much for the charity over a single day is amazing.

“There were lots of emotional moments, and plenty of families getting very happy and moved by the whole thing at the finish line.

“But for us, it brings forward the notion that there will always be people who want to fight cancer, and that when the time eventually comes where we can bring about the end of it completely, it will have been thanks to so many people who came out and fought for it.”

For more information, visit raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org.