Record numbers turned out today for Keighley’s BigK 10K.
Around 1,300 people – some three hundred up on last year – entered the event, in support of Manorlands.
And organisers hope the amount raised could smash through the £50,000 mark, beating totals from the past five years.
“Serious runners compete but many of the people who take part run or walk perhaps in memory of someone who has been cared for at Manorlands and hopefully they enjoy the day,” said Andrew Wood, a fundraiser at the Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice.
“The turnout this year has been excellent. I am very pleased.”
Before the start of the run, in Victoria Park, one competitor had her hair cut to further boost funds.
Oakworth mum De-Anne Morris had about 30cms of her hair lopped off, and seven-year-old daughter Hannah wielded the scissors!
“I’ve always had long hair and I said I would lose 30cms of it if I could raise £300 – and I’ve got just short of £400,” said De-Anne, 36, a staff nurse at Airedale Hospital.
“Also, the hair that’s been cut off is going to the Little Princess Trust, which provides wigs to children who have lost their own hair due to cancer treatment.
“I’ve worked at Manorlands through an agency and I know what fantastic things the hospice does.
“This is my third time in the Keighley 10K but I do other bits for Manorlands too – I’ve got the Great North Run and York Marathon later this year. I enjoy having a go at these events and the support you get from people is brilliant.”
De-Anne was joined in today’s run by her elder daughter, Abbie, 11, who raised just over £300.
Others taking part included young brothers Charley and McCauley Smith.
Charley, 13, was entering for the second time, while 11-year-old McCauley was making his debut in the event.
The boys, who live at Oakworth and both attend Oakbank School in Keighley, aimed to raise about £250 between them.
The money was being split between Manorlands and Phoenix Special School, Keighley, where their foster brother is a pupil.
Their mum, Michelle, said: “Charley has had a chest infection but he was determined to do the event even if he walked it.
“We had family who’ve died from cancer so the cause means a lot to us.”
Georgina Ford led the participants in a warm-up before the runners – who follow a multi-terrain route, taking in the town’s four parks – were officially set off by Keighley Gala Queen Samantha Hudson.
Samantha, 19, said: "I lost a grandma and granddad to cancer so I was thinking of them when I was at the starting line and saw so many people coming to run in memory of their own family and friends. It was quite an emotional moment but I felt very proud.”
The first runner home was Haworth man Will Smith, a Keighley & Craven Athletics Club member, in 34mins 28secs.
“I’ve previously set the course record of thirty-three-and-a-half minutes but I was pushed when I got that – I was on my own from the start today and it is difficult in that position to keep up the pace,” he said at the finish.
It was 38-year-old Will’s fourth appearance in the event, and his third win.
Second home was Skipton athlete Julian Hood, 36, in about 35.25.
“It’s a challenging course – quite hilly – but I like it and I had a good run,” he said.
“I took about 30 seconds off my last year’s time.”
In third place was Craig Shearer, 25, from Silsden, another Keighley & Craven Athletics Club member.
He has just had over seven months out because of injury and said he “couldn’t be happier” with his performance.
The first junior, under 17s, to cross the finishing line was 14-year-old James Lund – he met the challenge in 39 minutes and six seconds.
"It feels great. Mum and dad were out there somewhere to cheer me on," he said.
First female over the finishing line was 15-year-old Blackburn Harriers runner Liz Greenwood, who was competing in the race for the first time.
“It was quite a tough course but I enjoyed it,” she said.
All participants received a technical T-shirt and a sports bottle provided by Yorkshire Water.
Marshals – from organisations including Keighley Air Cadets, Worth Valley Young Farmers, the Three Acres Inn, Cross Roads and Fell Lane Scouts, Manorlands itself, Keighley Campus Leeds City College and Keighley and Craven Athletics Club – were spread around the route.
Entertainment was provided by the Jamba Samba band, from Jam on Top.
Mr Wood thanked everyone who took part and all those who helped with the organising and provided support.
The event was sponsored by the Airedale Shopping Centre, White Rose Volkswagen and Convenience Hire.
* More photos in Thursday's Keighley News