Roused from their sunbeds by the rhythmic beat of drums, the sun worshippers of South Tenerife were somewhat surprised to see a pink and white convoy snaking its way along the promenade. Was it a protest or a demonstration? No just a thousand plus friends going for a Sunday morning walk, but what a walk, and what a cause.
The Walk Of Life has become firmly established as a key event in the Tenerife calendar, raising funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. Salytien in Playa de Las Americas was the starting point and on a delightfully sunny morning the costumes and accessories were as bright as the snowy peak of Mount Teide. Dogs strained at their pink leashes, pink bunny ears and angel wings flapped in the breeze and the stalls around the stage were mobbed as walkers collected their official T shirts and handed in sponsorship money.
Katy Kennedy and Carlos kept the crowd informed and entertained as the 11am start approached and they welcomed a stream of guests to the stage. Adeje Mayor Fraga added his encouragement and a team of 12 Speedo clad and rubber suited swimmers and their back up crew took a bow before taking the sea route. One of the most poignant guests was a Spanish lady who had suffered a double mastectomy and had herself body painted to join in the walk.
The swimmers were first off, the sea looked decidedly choppy but they still strode in and set off at a cracking pace. Back at the stage they were under starters orders and off on the 3.5 km route heading along the seafront promenade. Many wore dedications to family and friends killed by cancer but there was an overall mood of determination and hope about the parade. Great strides are being made in cancer treatment and many of the walkers had fought the hard fight and won.
The swimmers had already discovered that the breeze was strengthening but it was refreshing for the foot soldiers as the palm trees swayed beside their progress. As the walkers hit the second half of the route alongside the busy beaches into Los Cristianos, many sun worshippers leapt off their towels and came forward to offer encouragement and money. The front runners danced their way forward to the beat of the drums and many new friendships were made as those involved mingled and took the walk at their own pace.
As they rounded into the Plaza de la Pescadora finish a crowd already awaited and a flurry of pink and white balloons was released into the sky. More music and speeches followed as well earned rests and drinks were taken, this years slightly longer and more beach based route certainly made a big impression. The 13,631 euros raised will be put to good use by the two chosen cancer charities AECC and Amate but raised awareness and early diagnosis may be the greatest reward of all. There is a full gallery of photos at Flickr.