7 May 2024

It’s not easy to put your best foot forwards when you’re a man-sized pair of trainers taking part in a 5-mile run for charity!

Mark Eagleton and Alan Harding were just two of the runners to step into fancy dress at YMCA East Surrey’s annual Fun Run this Bank Holiday Sunday. They were joined by more than 600 adults and juniors who signed up to enjoy an array of races and activities in Reigate’s Priory Park.

The event was run in partnership with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Sports Festival which welcomed a host of local clubs, offering free tasters of their sports to visitors.

The Adult 5-mile race, started by Reigate & Banstead Mayor, Cllr Eddy Humphreys, was won by Steve Cheeseman, 33, in a time of 31:11. Steve, a developer with Virtue Property Group, runs with Reigate Priory Athletic Club and he was one of 31 members who took part on the day.

First lady home, with an impressive run in a time of 32:02, was Recruitment Consultant, Eloise Bull, 24. After her win, she said:

“I’ve been taking part in the YMCA Fun Run for more than 20 years, going up through all the junior races! This was my second 5-miler and it’s always such a fun event. The last hill on the course was tough because I was tired by that point but, once I got over that, I was on my way home.”

The Adult 1-mile race was won by David Mason, running for Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club, with Gillian O’Regan taking first place for the ladies. Under 16 winners were Oliver Aylward and Millie Mackay.

In the Under 12’s 1-mile, 11-year-old Gracie Shade stormed home in a time of 6:30, beating Ted Hards into second place.

The Under 10’s winner was Joseph West, who beat runner-up, Elliott Mason, by just 3 seconds. Ursula Mackay was the first girl to cross the line.

Thomas Morley and Olivia Mason were accomplished winners of the Under 8’s race, with Finlay Wiltshire and Charlotte Purvis coming in first and second place in the Under 6 category.

YMCA East Surrey’s Chief Executive, Ian Burks, thanked staff and volunteers for giving up their time to support the fundraising event. He also paid tribute to Fun Run sponsors, Brewers Decorator Centres, saying:

“In 1999, Chris Brewer offered to sponsor the very first YMCA Fun Run and he has supported us every year since then. Chris is a brilliant guy – he and his family quietly champion a whole range of UK charities and we are incredibly grateful to be one of these.”

Simply Sports also supported the event and SES Water provided the popular Quenchinator – a giant tank of fresh water, supplying drinks for all without the need for hundreds of single-use plastic bottles. An event village, packed with food and drink stalls, served tasty treats and refreshments. Runners received an exclusive YMCA race technical t-shirt and commemorative medal.

All money raised from the YMCA Fun Run and other Challenge events this year will go toward the charity’s Life Change Fund which, in 2024, is supporting their youth housing projects.

Ian Burks says: “Currently, 1 in 52 young people are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the UK. We will shortly be opening a new move-on accommodation for 6 young people in Redhill and aim to raise £100k towards refurbishment costs, as well as furniture for individual bedrooms and communal areas to create a nurturing environment that truly feels like home.”

Last year, 120 young people at risk of homelessness were provided with safe accommodation by YMCA East Surrey and residents received 12,429 hours of support – an average of 1,036 hours a month.

Next year’s YMCA Fun Run will take place on Sunday 4th May 2025. To see details of other fundraising Challenge events, please go to www.ymcaeastsurrey.org.uk.