Glorious winter sunshine brought a record turnout of runners, with 670 Santas pulling on their red hats and white beards for the popular local charity event in Reigate’s Priory Park. More than 560 children and young people took part in the 1-mile race, many raising extra money through sponsorship to help support YMCA East Surrey’s vital work in the community.
Nineteen-year-old Paulina Macke surprised herself by being first female Father Christmas across the line in this year’s YMCA East Surrey Santa Run.
“I haven’t taken part in a Fun Run before,” said the au pair from Hannover, Germany, “but it was really good fun!”
Royal Alexander and Albert pupil, Nicholas Smith, 13, seemed unstoppable, dominating the field in the 1-mile race and crossing the line in first place for the 5th consecutive time. Annika Powell was the first girl home.
Reigate and Banstead Mayor, Cllr David Powell, and the Mayoress, Mrs Caroline Durance, acted as official starters for both races and presented the winners and runners with their trophies. Medals and refreshments were on offer to everyone who took part.
“For the eighth year running we’ve increased the number of people taking part in the Santa Run,” said YMCA East Surrey Chief Executive, Ian Burks. “We couldn’t wish for better numbers or better weather. Our staff and volunteers have done us proud with the organisation of this ever-growing event and I am enormously grateful to them and to all those who have joined us today.”
“Last year, 711 young people with disabilities enjoyed our sporting and social activities and around 2,430 took part in a YMCA Challenge event. We are committed to helping local people get active, whatever their age or abilities.”
2017 will see the building of YMCA East Surrey’s brand new Inclusive Sports Facility which will be Surrey’s foremost centre of excellence for disability sport, health and wellbeing. The local charity is currently within £200,000 of their £1.97 million target and all money raised from this year’s Santa Run will go towards the project.