16 years and still going strong!
It took until the Under 10s race at YMCA East Surrey’s Fun Run for the sun to come out over Reigate’s Priory Park.
Once it did, it shone on 9 year old Reigate Priory pupil Seth McDowall, who crossed the line ahead of the pack for an astonishing fourth year in a row and won the race in a time of 6 minutes and 10 seconds.
Bank Holiday Sunday marked the YMCA’s 16th annual Fun Run and, despite a wet start, the celebrations were soon in full swing.
Local four-star hotel, Sofitel London Gatwick have chosen the YMCA for their nominated charity this year and brought a 20-strong team of runners and volunteers to support the event. Led by Hotel Manager, Tim ‘Yee-Ha’ Reynolds, who completed the Adult 5 Mile race at a gallop, and General Manager, James Berry, they provided food for competitors and spectators in exchange for donations.
Reigate runner, Ryan Harris, completed the 5 mile race in first place with a very respectable time of 27 minutes and 50 seconds. Pippa Mason from the Earlswood School team came home first for the ladies.
“This morning’s rain didn’t put me off,” Ryan said after the race. “I’m an all-weather runner and I just kept to my own pace. The last mile was the toughest though. I’ve completed the Fun Run four times now and it doesn’t get any easier!”
In the Adult 1 mile race, Simon Ford, crossed the line in 4 minutes and 57 seconds – 1 second faster than his winning time at last year’s event. 16 year old Hannah-Mai Flynn from Kingswood – a familiar face at the Fun Run and past winner – ran in the adult event for the first time and won the race for the ladies.
The Reigate Priory Athletics Club girls made a clean sweep in the Under 16s race, with 14 year old Reigate School pupil Poppy Wardley achieving her first win ahead of fellow members, Eloise Bull and sister Anousha. The well-deserved Fancy Dress prize went to Robin Hood and Captain Hook duo, Eve Hassan and Charlotte Ingram.
Felix Vaughan, 11, stormed home ahead of the pack in the Under 12s race, leading from the front all the way and completing his run in a time of 5 minutes and 29 seconds. Pippa Rossler won the race for the girls.
YMCA East Surrey’s Yippee Club team were a strong presence in the Under 10s race, wearing tshirts they had decorated in the run up to the event and running with YMCA staff and volunteers. Last year Yippee provided 32,000 hours of short breaks for children aged between 5 and 11 with a wide range of disabilities and complex needs. Yippee member Laila Altug was awarded the Fancy Dress prize for her Princess outfit.
There was a very tight finish in the Under 8s race with only a second separating Edward Dewar and Aaron Delafaille as they battled to the line.
Flying home in the Under 6s with superhuman strength to swoop on the Fancy Dress prize was 3 year old Leonard Joubert from Merstham. The overall race winners were Arlo Bravn and Holmesdale pupil Joanna Frampton.
All runners received a medal and a race T-shirt for taking part.
“We had a record 1,600 entries today and I would like to thank each and every runner who took part,” said YMCA Chief Executive, Ian Burks. “Just by coming along today, every single person has helped to raise money for a new Inclusive Sports Facility that we are building next to our existing Sports and Community Centre and which will be accessible and welcoming to all.”
Race-goers and spectators had plenty of entertainment away from the Fun Run with 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 from croquet to karate and everything in between, showcasing their sports for people to try out.
Ian Burks added: “We would not be able to meet the needs of local individuals and communities in the same way without the hard work and support of our staff, volunteers, fundraisers and sponsors. Events like this where we all come together as one huge team show exactly how important that is.”
The YMCA East Surrey Fun Run will take place next year on Sunday 1 May 2016.