11 December 2017

The Surrey Santa is a hardy breed. Almost 1,000 red-suited runners converged on Reigate’s Priory Park on Sunday 10 December for YMCA East Surrey’s annual Santa Run.

“We are humbled by the support that this event receives every year,” said YMCA Chief Executive, Ian Burks. “Whether children have pestered their parents, or the parents have encouraged their children to take part, we have welcomed more runners than ever before, despite some of the worst weather we’ve had yet.”

No one let the rain put them off. Six-year-old Reigate Parish School pupil Evie Purdy ran with her brother, Jacob, saying that she wanted to take part in her second Santa Run because “It is fun!” Beth Bryant, 9, who attends Salfords Primary School was looking forward to running with friends.

YMCA gym members and Santa Run marshals, Kat and Kate, had volunteered to support the event, dancing to Christmas tunes as they directed runners.

“It’s a great local community cause,” said Kat, “and our children benefit from various YMCA services, so we were keen to help.”

This year’s event had three races for the first time, due to the record number of entries. Reigate and Banstead’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Frank Kelly, was official Race Starter.

Winning runners in the Adult 3 Mile were Simon Manning and Harriet Field, both leading a large team from Dunnotar School.

Regular winner, Nick Smith, 14, maintained his unbeaten run by crossing the line first in the Junior 1 Mile. 11-year-old St Bede’s pupil, Evie Nimako, was the first girl home.

The final race of the event, with almost 800 entries, was the new Family 1 Mile, for parents, grandparents, carers and children. All runners were entered into a draw to win a Children’s Christmas Hamper.

Money raised from the event will go towards YMCA East Surrey’s new inclusive centre for disability sports, health and well-being.

Ian Burks said:

“Over £2.4m has been raised for the project, including £472,000 from our inspirational challenge participants. Once completed, a further 1,750 local people will be able to enjoy over 70 new sessions of disability sport, exercise referral and health promotion every week. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has joined us to raise money today and all those who have given up their time to help.”