MORE than 1,800 women from throughout Lancashire woke up nursing aching limbs and blistered feet today -- but they know that their pain might have saved somebody else's life.

Women and girls of all ages and abilities came together last night at Witton Park, Blackburn, to take part in Imperial Cancer Research's Race For Life.

The five kilometre run, one of 71 held across the UK, raised money for research into cancers that affect women.

Since the first Race For Life in 1994 more than £12million has been raised and in last year alone over £5million was collected in sponsorship.

Barbara Donohoe, Hyndburn's Macmillan cancer care chairman, ran the race last year and this time brought along a team of runners from Thwaites brewery in Blackburn.

She joined Macmillan because of the exceptional care it had provided for her sister Marie, who died from breast cancer 12 years ago aged 34. The team also included two mums-to-be and expected to raise £15,000.

The majority of runners had been affected by cancer, either as sufferers themselves or through family or friends, and had joined the Race For Life for their own personal reasons.

Each runner wore a bib with their number on and two cards. One marked In Memory Of with the names of loved ones who lost their fight with the disease and one with In Celebration Of for those who survived proving cancer can be beaten.

Anne Sweeney, Race For Life manager for the north of England, said: "It has been a brilliant evening -- absolutely wonderful. And if we can see the number of In Celebration Ofs increasing then we know we are doing a good job.

"But only by women taking part raising money like this can that be done."

Gwen Sangster warmed everyone up with an energetic aerobics routine.

The first runner past the finishing post was Zoe Braithwaite, of Darwen. Second place went to Julie Leary, who runs for the Rossendale Harriers and works at Rossendale General Hospital.