THOUSANDS of runners descended on Lydiard Park for this year's Race for Life and helped raise £80,000 for charity.

They covered the 5km course yesterday to remember loved ones and help raise the cash for Cancer Research UK.

And for the first time, the traditionally women-only run allowed men to take part.

For Douglas Love, 42, from Old Town, the event was an opportunity to pay tribute to his uncle who recently died from cancer.

He said: “I lost my uncle to cancer a few weeks back and the funeral was last week, so I just decided to do it in his memory.

“People have to get involved. Everyone is affected by this somehow. Even if you walk it, every penny raised helps.”

Dale Payne, 47, from South Cerney said: “I’m here because it’s the first time men can run and I always wanted to take part.

“I’m here to support the charity. My other half’s daughter’s mother-in-law suffered from breast cancer and she’s in recovery now, so everybody got touch by cancer one way or another.”

Event manager Sophie Heath started to raise funds for Cancer Research UK when she was 17 after her mum died of cancer.

She said: “I wanted to take part of the race to raise those vital funds, just so that if another 17-year-old's mum could live one more day where mine couldn’t.

“We want to live in a world where there’s no cancer. That’s why it’s a great opportunity to spend the day with your loved ones either in memory of someone, in support of someone or just to be part of something, all coming together. It’s fantastic.

“When you here that someone got cancer, you feel emotion and shock but luckily, we are not in the 1970s anymore.

"It’s not necessarily a death sentence.

"It’s still an extremely scary thing to hear, that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

“And with the work that we do we really hope to be that sort of support for people who really like they need to talk to someone, someone who’s just more than strangers.”

The charity managed to raise over £80,000 between the 5km Pretty Muddy obstacle course event on Saturday and the race yesterday. All the money goes to the charity to help it find a cure.

New Swindon mayor Kevin Parry attended the event and told the Adver: “It was amazing to see people today for such a worthy cause. Swindon coming together is truly amazing."