A team of Birmingham shop workers are gearing up to tackle a tough and muddy obstacle race to raise funds for a cancer charity.

Four staff from home and hardware store Wilko in Northfield Shopping Centre will be taking part in the five kilometre Pretty Muddy Race for Life through thick slime on July 17.

Gathering sponsorship along the way, the team will be raising vital funds for Cancer Research UK – their company’s nominated charity for the coming year.

Wilko assistant manager Laura Manns has organised the charity challenge and will be taking part in the obstacle course along with colleagues Natalie Greening, Suki Gill and Michelle Dunn.

Laura, aged 26, said: “Cancer Research UK means a lot to everyone in the store – and everywhere really – I think it is such a widespread thing these days that everyone knows someone somewhere who has been affected by it.

“I have had family friends who have suffered from it and we really want to raise as much as possible to help fight this disease – we are grateful for every penny we get sponsored.

“As a company we are going to be doing all sorts to raise money for the charity in the coming months but we thought we’d kick it off with something big.”

Laura, who lives with her parents in Tamworth, has been with Wilko for 10 years, moving to the Northfield branch last November. She is now working on getting fit in preparation for the event at Central Forest in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent.

She said: “I’m not particularly fit and sporty so there will be a fair bit more training yet. I planned to do the Race for Life last year and trained for that, but then it got cancelled so I need to get up to that level again.”

Although the physical challenge is daunting, the mud doesn’t concern the girls who say they are not precious about that sort of thing.

“We’re just going to get stuck in,” said Laura. “Our warehouse is probably grubbier than that every day so we’re not bothered about getting dirty.”

Pictured, from left, are Suki Gill, Laura Manns and Natalie Greening
Pictured, from left, are Suki Gill, Laura Manns and Natalie Greening

Her thoughts were echoed by 29-year-old stock controller Natalie, from Frankley, who said that getting covered in mud was all part of the fun.

“That’s what it’s all about,” she added. “I’m quite excited about it really and it’s all for such a good cause.

“There’s been quite a history of cancer in my family so I’m very aware of how important it is and I said I’d do the race straight away when Laura suggested it.”

The pair will be joined by Michelle Dunn who will be back from holiday just in time for the event and till supervisor Suki Gill from Smethwick.

Suki, aged 28, has been at the Northfield store for 10 years, and said: “I go to the gym twice a week so I should be okay but I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m really looking forward to it.

“It will be a good challenge and I think cancer, and in particular breast cancer, is something we’re all aware of as women so it will be great to raise as much as we can for the charity.”

Northfield’s Shopping Centre manager Adam Meade said: “I’m very impressed with what the team from Wilko are planning to do and wish them all the best with it.

“Racing over five kilometres is quite a feat in itself so doing it through muddy conditions and over obstacles as well is very impressive, and all for such a great cause too.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, and Pretty Muddy events which raises millions of pounds every year to help fund life-saving research.

The pink-themed Pretty Muddy events are held at venues across the UK with thousands of women taking part to raise funds for the charity.

Amy Hall, area events manager for Cancer Research UK, said: “Pretty Muddy promises all the fun and camaraderie of our much loved 5k and 10k events – with lashings of mud, sweat and cheers. We hope many more women will rope-in their friends and family and help swell the ranks of Race for Life’s pink army.

“I’d like to thank the Wilko team and everyone who’s signed up to our Race for Life events so far. When they come together these women are an amazing unstoppable force. Thanks to them our doctors, nurses and scientists are able to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across the West Midlands.

“Cancer survival rates have doubled since the 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. But more funds and more supporters are needed to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”

Pictured, from left, are Suki Gill, Laura Manns and Natalie Greening
Pictured, from left, are Suki Gill, Laura Manns and Natalie Greening
To sponsor the Wilko team call in to the store at Northfield Shopping Centre: a JustGiving page is being arranged. To enter Race for Life today go to raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.

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