AMAZING - that was how Miles for Men organiser Michael Day summed up yesterday’s memorable event.
They came in their hundreds, dads, granddads, children, friends - all united by a common determination to help find a cure for cancer.
It is the only known event of its kind nationally and organisers are hoping to raise anything up to £30,000 for Cancer Research.
The seafront between Hartlepool and Seaton Carew was a sea of blue as runners wore their distinctive Miles for Men T-shirts.
Michael Day came up with the idea of a men’s race in aid of Cancer Research after losing his dad, also called Michael, to throat cancer four years ago.
Hartlepool already hosts a popular Race for Life for women affected by cancer.
More than 1,000 people took part in yesterday’s first race and Michael hopes to make it an annual event.
He said: “It’s been absolutely amazing. I never thought it would get as many people as it did.
“We had people from all over, people actually suffering from cancer doing the run and I take my hat off to them.
“This is going to be the first of many.”
Michael wore one of the race’s now trademark blue T-shirts with the message ‘just for you dad’ emblazoned on the back.
Yesterday marked the end of four months of hard work by Michael and friends Richard Heggarty, Mark and Jane Sickling, Wayne Butterfield, nephew Anthony Day and Natalie Aston.
The race was started from Maritime Avenue, Hartlepool, by former Middlesbrough footballer Craig Hignett.
He said: “I think it’s a great idea. Michael asked me if I could help and I was more than happy to come down.”
Despite the emotion of the day, runners raised a smile wearing all manner of funny costumes including Big Bird, He-Man and horses.
David Beech, 31, from Newcastle, was first across the finishing line at Seaton Carew Cricket Club in 16 minutes 50 seconds.
All runners and walkers were cheered across the line by supporters before collecting their medals for their efforts.
Afterwards, one of the organisers Wayne Butterfield, had his three-month beard shaved off by town barber Ronnie Eve, adding another £450 to the day’s total.
Niramax sponsored the event and Hartlepool & District Hospice held collections.
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