HAMPSHIRE women are today being urged to sign up for this year’s Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life – and smash the £536,000 total raised last year.

The event, one of the largest annual fundraisers held in the south, is now open for registration and organisers are issuing the rallying cry: “It’s all of us versus cancer” to mums, daughters, sisters, grandmas and friends.

Women and girls of all ages, shapes and sizes are needed to join forces for the Winchester event, which will take place at the Garrison Ground, Bar End Road on Sunday, June 10 and the Southampton event, at The Common on Sunday, July 8.

Staged in partnership with Tesco, they are a non-competitive, women-only series of events which raises millions of pounds every year for lifesaving research into 200 types of cancer – helping men, women and children across the south survive.

Women can choose whether to walk, jog or run the 5k or 10k route, and most are able to walk 5k in an hour.

All women are welcome, regardless of whether they are taking part on their own or as part of a group. Rachel White, Cancer Research UK’s south events manager, said: “Come on ladies – please enter Race for Life in Southampton or Winchester today! It’s all of us versus cancer and we need you to join the fight as soon as possible.”

Last year 9,530 women took part in the Southampton and Winchester Race for Life events and raised £536,932.

This year, organisers want 10,000 women and girls to put their best feet forward and help raise £553,117 for vital research into cancer, a disease which affects 41,000 people in the southeast every year.

Rachel said: “We know many women want to take part in Race for Life but are worried they won’t be able to complete the course. We want to reassure them that Race for Life is not about being fast or fit.

Instead, it’s a celebration of sisterhood and hope.

“Most women are able to walk 5k in an hour while chatting and having fun. The really startling fact is that, in the same period of time, around five people in the south-east will be diagnosed with cancer.”

Cancer Research UK receives no Government funding for its groundbreaking research, so money raised through Race for Life is crucial to the pioneering work of doctors, nurses and scientists who are fighting cancer on all fronts.

Rachel added: “We are very grateful to everyone who took part in Race for Life in Hampshire last year and in the past. But the battle against cancer never stops and for this reason we need them to return to the fight in 2012 and bring new recruits with them.”

For the first time Southampton women will have the option to double their distance at the same venue by taking part in Race 10k. Southampton is one of 35 venues across the UK where participants can choose to enter the traditional 5k Race for Life or select the Race 10k route when they register, without having to pay an additional entry fee.