Cancer Research UK has cancelled all Race for Life events this year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The charity had hoped to postpone its 380 events until the autumn, but with uncertainty as to when mass participation events might be allowed, it has decided this is no longer possible.
The charity previously said it expects to lose about 25% of its fundraised income this year. It also reported furloughing around 2,400 staff, which equates to 60% of its workforce.
Race for Life normally raises millions each year to help fund Cancer Research UK’s work. Since it began in 1994, over £890m has been raised to help fund research into all types of cancer.
Last year, more than 375,000 people took part in 416 events and raised £33m for the charity.
Instead, Cancer Research UK has launched Race for Life at Home. As examples, it says supporters could choose to do a 5k or 10k run or walk, or embark on a month-long fitness challenge.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive at Cancer Research UK, said: “Cancer hasn’t stopped and we’re determined to keep making progress for those affected, who need our support more than ever. We’re urging people to sign up to Race for Life at Home and join our amazing Race for Life community. From a 5k run or walk to a month-long fitness challenge, people can get creative and take part however they wish – just join in, have fun and stay safe.
“Covid-19 may have stopped our events this year but we won’t be defeated. By uniting together from home, we can still help beat cancer.”
‘Race for Life events will return in 2021’
Mitchell said thousands of people had already signed up to take part, adding: “We’re sorry to our participants and volunteers who hoped to join in this year, but we hope they will understand that safety must be priority”.
She said Race for Life events will return in 2021. Participants who have already signed up to a 2020 Race for Life will be contacted by the charity and can request a refund or donate their entry fee.
Michelle Mitchell reflects on her first year as chief executive at Cancer Research UK.