“All of Us Versus Cancer” (Unless You Have a Willy)

It’s a fun run… A pink, lovely, fluffy fun run!  It raises money for Cancer Research UK, which is brilliant.  The run is one of the UK’s leading charity events, not just raising money and awareness of cancer but also acting as a huge beacon of hope for cancer victims and their families. I’m talking about the Race For Life – and, as this year’s slogan suggests, it’s “all of us versus cancer”

Bananas - a great racing snack!

Unless, of course, you have a penis.  If your bits dangle, then you won’t be allowed to take part in the run – it’s women only I’m afraid.

All of us versus cancer eh ? As a media obsessed HB/NW, I can smell the sour stink of sweaty spin from a thousand yards.  Make no mistake – I’m very much in support of things like Race for Life, but to continue to ban men from running is shortsighted to say the least, especially with a slogan like that.

There a few concessions in this politically incorrect, albeit powerful and important, ‘girlies together’ luvfest.  Boys under eleven are now allowed to run alongside a guardian (as long as that guardian has a vagina, presumably).  As soon as they reach 12, however, boys appear to become men in the eyes of Cancer Research UK and banned from the event for life – as if they were naughty olympians who had just failed a dope test – testosterone being this year’s big no, no!

Race for Life began as a valuable way to raise awareness of breast cancer – firing up the female population regarding an issue close to their gender.  All that is brilliant stuff, but the event has subsequently grown in scale and scope, not only earning millions for an incredibly worthwhile cause but also organically forming itself into the place to go to commemorate loved ones who have fought and lost battles with the dreaded condition – or indeed, to continue to fight, either for oneself or a close friend.  Nothing wrong with that!  It’s also unashamedly aimed at women, which is also not a problem in cultural terms… I say revel in our differences!  I say keep the pink, keep it girly-centric and celebrate it as a cultural milestone within the feminine realm.  Oh… and let me join in please.

Variety is the spice of life but when ‘difference’ ends up creating real division, there’s a problem.    Can I go and commemorate the death of a loved one by striding out along a Race for Life road with others ?  No!  Am I allowed to fight for my partner, my children, my friends or myself by making the symbolic act of putting one foot in front of the other during these events ?  No!  Am I simply allowed to run with my betwinkled friends and colleagues because I sometimes consider myself ‘one of the girls’ ?  Not with that thing down your pants, Sonny!

“Ahh yes” – I hear the organisers shout proudly… “We need men as marshalls and stewards – people who can make the tea while we women get on with the business at hand”.  It’s beginning to sound like the fifties again! Let me run!  If it means something of value, whether emotionally, financially or spiritually to run then let me run!  If it actually means nothing girls, then take your running shoes off and go home… Everyone drop a quid off at your local charity shop and be done with the games.

I’m sure that there are plenty of other races, events, challenges etc that men can participate in.  This will be true, just as there were many fine seats at the back of the deep south bus, back in the dark days…  What’s the difference ?

OK, perhaps an overly hyperbolic comparison…?  Race for Life is in a different league right ?  It’s just a bit of pink, fluffy fun…

It’s not much fun for the man who’s parents, or kids, or partner died of cancer, who just wants to get out there and run it off, held and healed by the surrounding humanity…  It’s not much fun for men whose partners would love to run the race but are too ill through the terrible disease- men who can’t run symbolically on behalf of a fighter at home…  It’s not much fun for any fella who wants to break out from the barriers that so many people perceive between the sexes.

What’s my story ?  A lot of my friends are women and I want to run with them.  On one level it’s that simple.  But there’s more to it than that.  I often feel that there’s a subtext going on when certain areas are designated ‘women only’ –  I’m talking about the spheres of childcare, tenderness, maternal instinct… even love.  Some women don’t appear to see that men can value these things too, let alone have an innate instinct for them.  It’s understandable that some women, who have encountered terrible men, have lost the power to believe in a good and gentle man ‘in touch with his feminine side’… all the more reason for us to get out there, put on some pink and hold each other’s hands through something like this.

Enough of the debate… the best reason for us all running in Race for Life this year is that this is “all of us versus cancer”  You really can’t argue with that RFL – it’s your own ruddy slogan.


© Nova Amiko and The Has Been Who Never Was 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nova Amiko and The Has Been Who Never Was with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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