Record turnout expected for relay

Students, workplaces, corporates ready for hard slog

Last updated 12:00 07/03/2014

READY TO GO: Casey Trownson, Renee Hopcroft and Monique Macpherson.

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Record crowds are again expected at Manawatu's annual Relay for Life this weekend, as students, workplaces and corporates ready themselves for the hard slog ahead.

More than 2000 people, divided into 115 teams, will run, walk and wheel their way around Massey University's Hokowhitu athletics track from just before noon Saturday until noon Sunday.

Last year's Relay for Life raised a record $400,151 for the Manawatu branch of the Cancer Society and relay co-ordinator Faye James said it was possible the record could fall again.

"Last year's event was such a success but this year we've got a few more teams again and so far what we've heard about fundraising has just blown us away."

About 300 people who had beaten cancer were expected for the survivors' walk that will start the event.

Ms James has 2200 already officially registered, from school groups to corporates, including 1500 who had requested a breakfast cooked by the district's Lions clubs.

Among that crowd will be the largest ever crew of Freyberg High School students, dressed in wacky beach-themed attire, thanks to the work of a dedicated group of year 13s at the school.

Head girl Monique Macpherson, whose aunt Helen has battled cancer for the past nine years, began thinking about this year's relay in the middle of last year. It is her and her friends' last year at the school, and "we want to go out in style".

"We dipped our toes in it and we fell in love with it as an event. Everyone is affected by cancer but for us the relay just has such a celebratory feel to it."

The relay had created unofficial rivalries between Palmerston North schools over the years to see who could do the most laps and raise the most money, she said.

"We're there for the cause but the competition does help. When you have St Peter's a lap behind you it makes you push through the early hours of the morning."

Macpherson, Casey Trownson and Renee Hopcroft compare the atmosphere of the relay to a school camp - a bonding over a shared experience.

Access to the grounds opens at 7am on Saturday, with an official opening before the relay starts at 11.30am.

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- Manawatu Standard


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