Cancer survivor takes lead at Race for Life

Helen Mackenzie and her daughter Laura. (1306051AM2)
Helen Mackenzie and her daughter Laura. (1306051AM2)

A Ripon breast cancer survivor will take prime position at this year’s Race for Life event to celebrate the end of National School Sports Week.

Director of Sport at Ripon Grammar School, Helen Mackenzie, will wear vest number one, with daughter Laura wearing vest number two, at the school’s annual charity race on June 28.

Helen, who survived breast cancer last year, told the Gazette: “The beauty of this event is that all money raised not only go directly to Cancer Research UK because there are no event costs, but the funds are ring-fenced for research in Yorkshire.”

Helen came up with the idea of the special event, which raises funds for Cancer Research while bringing together local schools to participate in the race, with Cancer Research’s Rachel Speight-McGregor last year.

Together the pair have so far raised £8,800 for Cancer Research UK.

The inaugural event featured the Olympic torch, which Helen carried through Ripon in 2011, and next Friday’s second event will see all students at Ripon Grammar School once again completing the 4k course throughout the day, with school staff volunteering to run at lunchtime.

But unlike the national women-only Race for Life challenge, which features 5k and 10k routes at venues across the country throughout summer every year, students and staff of both sexes will get the chance to walk, run or jog along the track to raise money for the cancer charity.

And schools across the district are already committing to the challenge, with Ripley Endowed Primary School PE co-ordinator, Donna Langley, telling the Gazette: “We have been looking for an event in which the whole school can get involved.

“The Ripon Race for Life ticks a lot of boxes for us – not only is it in National School Sports Week where we always try and do something special, but it is raising money for a fantastic cause.”

– The event costs £3 to enter and all competitors will receive an official Race for Life medal. Pin badges and t-shirts will also be given out as spot prizes on the day. Sponsor forms are available from Helen Mackenzie on A justgiving page has also been set up where donations can be made online at Ripon Grammar School is also appealing for volunteers to help set out and marshall the course, put up the gazebo, hand out medals, take money and register the students. If anyone would like to help out contact Helen on 07896 534539. Anyone wanting to join in with the race is also welcome.