More than 1,500 runners, a big blue bear, superheroes, a sumo wrestler, SpongeBob SquarePants and a two-man plane turned out in Reigate’s sun-soaked Priory Park for the YMCA East Surrey annual Fun Run on Sunday 1 May.
“An event like this has the potential to light the spark inside a whole new generation of athletes,” said a delighted Ian Burks, the charity’s Chief Executive. “The Fun Run proves that sport is for everyone, no matter what their age or ability.”
The day kicked off with the Adult 5-mile race, which began and finished in the park, with a fully marshalled route around the local roads in between.
First man home was Meadvale resident and Tri Surrey member, Luke Worthington. Triathlete Luke, 37, is due to represent team GB in Aviles, Spain, in June.
“I’ve not taken part in the Fun Run before but it was a lot of fun and the weather was great,” he said after completing his run in a time of 27 minutes and 49 seconds. Second place went to race regular Alister Moses and Reigate Priory Athletics Club runner, Natalie Wilson, was the first lady home.
The Sofitel London Gatwick team of Tim Reynolds and Aflal Jabir let the plane take the strain, running together in an ambitious ‘Sofitel Airlines’ fancy dress costume.
“It was a crazy plan!” said Hotel Manager and ‘pilot’, Tim, “Our maintenance crew did a fantastic job in designing it but we had no idea it was going to be that hard to run in a two-man cardboard plane.”
The local four-star hotel has chosen to support the YMCA as their nominated charity for the second year running and brought along a team of kitchen staff to run the BBQ for competitors and spectators, donating all of the food they cooked and served.
Reigate School pupil, Poppy Wardley, 15, was a deserving second time winner in the Under 16’s 1-mile race, following on from her success last year. Felix Vaughan, 12, took the Under 12’s title in 2015 but handled the older race field this year with unshakeable confidence to win for the boys.
In the Under 12’s race, a fierce battle for the line ended with just a 0.15 second split between first and second place. Eleven-year-old St John’s pupil Freddie Fowler took the victory over Oliver Emment, also 11. Iona Agaius, the first girl home, came in just 5 seconds behind in third place.
Television actor and presenter, Shane Richie joined the event to watch his daughter take part. He started the Under 8’s race which was won by 7 year olds Thomas Webb and Carson Morley.
Birthday boy and St John’s pupil, Alistair Fordyce, stormed home to win the Under 6 race in his first attempt at the Fun Run. Chloe Stuart ran a determined race to take first place for the girls.
All runners received a medal and a race T-shirt for completing the course, courtesy of local sponsors; Vines BMW, Osborne Builders and Brewers Decorating Materials.
Race-goers and spectators were entertained away from the Fun Run by the Festival of Sport – a joint venture between Reigate and Banstead Sports Council and the Borough Leisure Services Department. A large number of local clubs held demonstrations, showcasing their sports for people to try out.
“We would not be able to put on a wonderful event like this without the hard work and support of our staff, volunteers, fundraisers and sponsors,” said Ian Burks. “The Fun Run is all about promoting physical activity, especially amongst children and those new to exercise, and we hope that everyone who came along today has enjoyed themselves as much as we did.”