Starting gun sounds for this year's Norwich Race for Life

Rob GarrattThe starting gun has been sounded today as entries open for this year's Race for Life.Rob Garratt

The starting gun has been sounded today as entries open for this year's Race for Life.

Women from across the city are being urged to join the largest female-only team in the country by taking part in the annual Cancer Research UK fundraiser.

Last year more than 12,000 women walked, jogged or ran 5km round the Norfolk Showground to raise more than �761,135.

Organisers are hoping to smash those figures with entries opening for this year's run the first time today.

One woman who says she will be definitely running this year is Gemma Keys.

Last year the 20-year-old completed the 5k race with her mother Lisa Cooke, who died just 17 days after struggling round the course last May.

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This year Miss Keys, from Winceby Close, Dussindale, says she will be running in her mother's honour, and is calling on other women to get involved.

She said: 'I am definitely going to do it, especially because of the achievements of my mum last year.

'It was so inspiring that she went round so close to what happened and this is an opportunity for me to honour my mum - and raise as much money as possible for the cause, which is what she would want to do.

'The run is such a great day; there's so much camaraderie and everyone is smiling, even if they don't necessarily have a good reason to be.'

This year Norwich women are being invited for the first time to 'double their distance', with an addition of a double length 10km race on May 1, in addition to two 5km races on May 1 and 2.

The Race for Life is the UK's largest women-only fundraising event, with around 700,000 women expected to take part in around 230 events across the country, to help meet a fundraising target of �60m.

Everyday around 73 people are diagnosed with cancer in the East of England. Cancer Research UK funds research and clinical trials across the region, including an ongoing study in Norwich into the most effective treatment for leukaemia.

Gemma Turpin, Cancer Research UK's Norfolk events manager, said: 'This year Cancer Research UK's Race for Life is going to be full of amazing moments for everyone - from lining up at the start, side-by-side with thousands of other women, to reading the inspirational 'back-signs' worn by participants to the fantastic sense of achievement from crossing the finish line.

'Women of all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes take part in Race for Life. They motivate and inspire each other to complete the 5k or the 10k course. Many simply walk round, chatting and having fun, but they all share the wonderful atmosphere at the event.'

Women in Norwich can enter Cancer Research UK's Race for Life at or by calling 0871 6411111.

Do you have an inspiring story to share with Evening News readers? Call reporter Rob Garratt on 01603 772439 or email