YMCA East Surrey held their first Fun Run in 2000, under their former name of Redhill and Reigate YMCA, with 200 runners turning out to take part.
On Bank Holiday Sunday, this figure rocketed to almost 1,200 as local families signed up to join in the charity’s 20th Fun Run celebrations against the picturesque backdrop of Reigate’s Priory Park.
“It’s been so exciting to see this event grow in popularity,” said YMCA East Surrey Chief Executive, Ian Burks. “Each year now we welcome back familiar faces of adults who make this a regular fixture in their diaries and children who are growing up through the age categories and keep returning to take part. Many are becoming better and better athletes and it’s thrilling to play a small part in their sporting trajectory.”
Money raised from this year’s Fun Run is going towards YMCA East Surrey’s ‘1,000 Days of Play’ fund, which aims to provide free playscheme places for local families who need additional support.
Competitors who completed their races received a free commemorative t-shirt and a medal. Prizes of chocolates and outdoor sports equipment, donated by Tesco, were also awarded for best fancy-dress costume.
342 adults took part in the Adult 5-mile race. Reigate resident Gavin Fox, competing for the Tri Surrey team in his first outing of the season, was the first to cross the line in a time of 30:44.
Gavin, a 28-year-old Construction Manager, is training for a triathlon in Switzerland this August. He said: “The hardest part is always the hill on Park Lane! I led for the whole way so didn’t have any traffic problems with other runners, but Ian Stammars in second place didn’t make it easy for me. I couldn’t shake him off until the hill, so it did me a favour in some ways.”
Receptionist Cheryl Evans, 38 from Horley, completed an impressive double, winning for the ladies for the second year running and clocking a time of 36.38.
In total, 805 children took part in five races. Performance of the day undoubtedly went to 11-year-old Katie Foss in the Under 12’s 1-mile race who stormed home 7 seconds ahead of the rest of the field in a time of 06:58.
Katie lives in Horley and runs with Crawley Athletic Club. Her Fun Run success marked the 5th time that she’s received a trophy at the YMCA’s event and she already has her sights set on the Olympics – one to watch.
Charles Brewer, representing sponsors Brewers Decorating Centres, started the Under 8’s race. Luke Stott, 7, crossed the line in first place for the boys and Imogen Rochelle-Ash, also 7, was the first girl home. Both live in Reigate and are pupils at Holmesdale School.
The Fun Run event was held in conjunction with Reigate and Banstead’s Sports Festival. Many local sports clubs put on displays and invited spectators to take part in competitions or try outs. A climbing wall towered above the park and proved very popular.
“Last year, we delivered over 26,000 hours of short break disability play and youth schemes, providing families with respite from often very demanding caring responsibilities. With the money raised today, we can offer more free places to those who need it most,” said Ian Burks.
“Every one of the fantastic runners who joined us for our 20th Fun Run has helped us to support those who are vulnerable in our local community. We would like to say a huge thank you to them and to our many wonderful sponsors who have made this year’s anniversary event a resounding success.”