PARTICIPANTS and spectators at an annual race around a Basingstoke shopping centre will be asked to take part in a selfie challenge to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis.

Runners in the Brackenwood Festival 5k this Sunday will be encouraged to support the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s Breathe With Me Strawfie challenge, held during Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week from June 6 to 14.

The challenge involves participants taking a selfie breathing through a straw while pinching their nose, which is similar to the way a cystic fibrosis sufferer might feel with a reduced lung function.

The genetic condition causes the internal organs, particularly the lungs and digestive system, to become clogged with thick sticky mucus, resulting in chronic infections and inflammation.

It affects around 10,000 people in the UK and only 50 per cent live to their 40th birthday.

On Sunday, reigning Miss Hampshire 2015 Larissa Hirst and Miss Basingstoke Nicola Ascroft will attend the 5k race, which starts in Festival Place, to encourage runners and spectators to support the challenge, with the hope of getting as many people as possible involved in taking ‘Strawfies’.

Participants will be encouraged to post their selfie on social media and made a donation to the trust by texting BWCF64 and the amount to 70070 or by visiting

The Brackenwood Festival 5k will see runners race through Festival Place before looping around the Top of the Town, Eastrop Park and Basing View.

Organised by Destination Basingstoke, it is suitable for those with all levels of experience and entry is open to anyone over the age of 13.

Steven Connolly, centre director at Festival Place, said: “We are looking forward to hosting the Brackenwood 5k again this year. This is a very special event for us – where else can you run a proper UKA race through the middle of a shopping centre? We look forward to welcoming runners and their families for this unique event.”

A warm up will be led by Patricia Lopez, a running and yoga coach from Time 4 Training, and Physical Balance, a group of specialist practitioners dedicated to the treatment of relief of musco-skeletal pain, will provide a sports massage for competitors on the day for a small donation to St Michael’s Hospice.

To enter visit