NEARLY 2,000 fundraisers took on the 5km Race for Life course to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK.

And thousands more were there to cheer on their family and friends in the annual race, which took place in the grounds of Kingston Maurward College on Sunday.

In temperatures topping 20°C, 1,800 fundraisers set off at 11am to tackle the rural course.

Tara Chittenden, 16, from Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester, finished the race in first place with a time of 21 minutes and 46 seconds.

She was racing to raise money for her friend, Jack Davies, who is her tutor group, and is undergoing a course of chemotherapy after he was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Tara said: “It was very hot but it was a nice race and the course was good.

“It was harder than I thought but not as hard as what some people are going through.”

Many of the racers were raising money for Cancer Research UK in memory of loved ones, with groups of families, friends and work colleagues, plus individual racers, combining to raise as much money as possible.

Maxine Bateman, events manager for Cancer Research UK, said: “It was an amazing day, the weather was great and there was a really good atmosphere.

“There were 1,800 people who completed the course, which is more than we expected, and we are hopeful of achieving our fundraising aim of £83,229. It was a brilliant day.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

The Clipper Teas team

Beaminster-based Clipper Tea employees Lydia Harwood, Beth Roxburgh, Amy Hillier, Caroline Deakin, Tanya Perham, Juliette Perham and Claire Tuck all took part in the race.

Lydia said: “We all know someone who has had cancer.

“We have raised £1,000 for the charity, and this is the first year we have done it so we are very pleased.”

Salway Ash School were also among the West Dorset runners.

The Bridport News’ sister paper the Dorset Echo had a nine-strong team running too, including Tara Cox, now helping out at the Lyme Regis News.

Tara, 21, said: “This was the first time I’ve done it and it was fun to run with the girls and to do something for Cancer Research.

“The atmosphere was incredible with women and girls of all ages really entering into the pink spirit!”