Heroic fundraising and huge community support marked the 18th annual YMCA East Surrey Fun Run on Bank Holiday Sunday.
More than 1,600 local people turned out for the event in Reigate’s Priory Park. Among them was Henry McDougall, his brother Teddy and their friend Riley Neath. Henry, 14, who is autistic and has severe learning disabilities, has accessed the YMCA’s children’s services since 2012 and now attends their Yip4Youth scheme for young people with disabilities and complex needs. It was the third year running that the boys have taken part in the Fun Run and they raised £391.00 towards the charity’s new Inclusive Sports Facility.
Henry’s mother, Chrissy, says: “It’s so important that Henry has the chance to join in physical activities that he loves alongside other children who are just like him. The boys were so keen to run and raise money today and have really enjoyed themselves.”
Tim Reynolds, Director of Operations at InterContinental London – The O2, was also bitten by the fundraising bug and raised over £1,037 from sponsorship to run the Adult 5-mile race dressed as Dolly Parton.
Ron Taylor, 30, won the Adult race for the second time with a time of 28 minutes and 48 seconds from a field of 408 runners. Close on his heels, came the first lady home, triathlete and Redhill resident Jenny Millett, in a time of 32 minutes and 35 seconds.
Ben Short cartwheeled across the finishing line to win the Adult 1-mile race and Felix Vaughan proved unbeatable yet again in the Under 16’s race, with Pippa Roessler less than 4 seconds behind him.
YMCA East Surrey’s Yippee playscheme team were a strong presence in the Under 12’s race, carrying balloons and running with YMCA staff and volunteers. Last year, the charity provided 37,000 hours of short breaks for children with a wide range of disabilities and complex needs.
Rohan Gibbons, 7, won the Under 8 race in a tightly competitive finish. Fastest girl home was Sophia Potter, running for the Reigate Parish Dragonflies team.
Five-year-old Daniel Delafaille made a fantastic run among the Under 6’s to cross the line in first place, with Saffron Firth, also 5, winning for the girls.
All runners received a medal and a race T-shirt, courtesy of local sponsors; Vines BMW, Osborne Builders and Brewers Decorating Materials.
The Festival of Sport, a joint venture between Reigate and Banstead Sports Council and the Borough Leisure Services Department, entertained families all day with activities including obstacle courses, a climbing wall, gymnastics beam and sporting displays.
Speaking after the event, YMCA East Surrey’s Chief Executive, Ian Burks, said:
“Yet again this year the Fun Run has grown in size. We are delighted that so many families have chosen to join us and grateful to our staff and volunteers for helping to make this event happen. It is important to us to make physical activity fully inclusive in our local area and it’s wonderful to see children and adults of all ages and abilities taking part today, showing that sport is for everyone!”