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More than 250 runners, walkers and supporters filled the Castle Grounds with a sea of pink on Saturday (20 May) as the 17th annual Women’s Cancer Challenge hit the trails of Stornoway.

The weather may have been cool and damp, but sunny, friendly faces lit up the day as the crowd gathered outside the UHI Outer Hebrides buildings for the start of the 2023 5k challenge.

The event has been raising money for the Lewis Branch of Cancer Research UK for almost 20 years, spanning the inevitable Covid disruption, but organisers Tony and Kirsty Wade said they were ‘delighted and relieved’ to see so many people back on the paths this year.

Kirsty said: “We always get a bit nervous about how many people will find time to give up their Saturday morning for the event and we are very grateful that people were so supportive.

“The turnout is a reflection of the fact that we all know someone affected by cancer and it's a cause close to many people’s hearts.

“Some of the walkers and runners who take part have experienced cancer themselves and that always gives the challenge a special feeling. It feels emotional, but celebratory at the same time.”

Kirsty and Tony were thanked after what was described as ‘a great event’ by representatives of Cancer Research UK and Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative, in their turn thanking everyone who took part for their donations and enthusiasm.

Especial thanks went to volunteers and first-aiders for giving up their time, UHI Outer Hebrides and the Stornoway Trust for use of their facilities. Tesco and Iain Mackinnon were also thanked for contributions of much-appreciated water and bananas.

The Women’s Cancer Challenge is the largest sporting participation event in the islands, and has over the years raised over £130,000 for Cancer Research UK.

This year’s total from individual fundraising, participation and t-shirt sales will be announced in due course.

Pictures show some of the pink army on the trail in the Castle Grounds, volunteers from the Lewis branch of Cancer Research UK awaiting the finishers with their rewards, and runners Megan and Kirsty Wade, first home Mary Scheepers and Janet Reid (Women’s Cancer Challenge).