04:30PM, Thursday 09 December 2021
Thousands of runners were in Marlow on Sunday for the town’s Santa Fun Run. Credit: Jon Perry, Marlow Camera Club
Thousands of runners pounded the streets of Marlow at the weekend as the town’s annual Santa’s Fun Run returned for the first time since 2019.
About 2,500 people dressed as Father Christmas took part in the 17th edition of the charity fundraising run, which typically raises large sums for good causes.
The event is organised by all three rotary clubs in Marlow, with 2,000 spectators lining the streets adding to the festive atmosphere in the town on Sunday.
The Marlow Jam Theatre Company provided live entertainment in High Street, while for the first time, the Great Marlow School Jazz and Blues Band played to runners in Station Road.
Former Paralympic rowing champion Naomi Riches started the race at the bottom of High Street, with the participants taking a full 11 minutes to clear the start line.
The race was led up the town centre by a police patrol car and a team of cyclists, followed by a sea of red.
The final sum raised will not be known until all competing charities and fundraisers have completed their fundraising – but the Rotary Clubs of Marlow hopes that more than £50,000 will be counted.
Initial cheques of £3,000 each were presented to this year’s lead charities – Thames Valley Air Ambulance and Young Minds.
There was a tie for the best men’s time, with the first ever draw between Rollo Parry and Raihan Lenoire in 17 minutes, 55 seconds.
Liv Brown was the fastest female in 20 minutes, 56 seconds.
Chairman of the event’s organising committee, John Prout, said: “We are so pleased to be able to hold this event – last year’s was well supported but it was never going to be the same as the real thing.
“For Rotary the event ticks two big boxes.
“We provide a great opportunity for community involvement in Marlow and we raise enormous sums of money for good causes.
“The run is a good example of what Rotary is all about.”
Among those running was local resident and Virgin Radio presenter Chris Evans and his family.
Chris said: “This is an extraordinary community event – and the start on Marlow High Street lends itself to the occasion so well.
"In these difficult times it is fantastic for families and friends to take part. Congratulations to all those who entered – and of course to those who organised the event”.
A ‘charity pool’ of £5,000 will be distributed to all teams who raised more than £500 for their chosen charity.
This pot was made possible by donations from the lead sponsors, Shanly Foundation, as well as Blaser Mills Law, Community Impact Bucks and the Heart of Bucks Foundation.
The date for 2022 has also been confirmed for Sunday, December 4, with the website for entries opening on September 1, 2022.
A cross-party coalition of 28 councillors from three different factions has been formed at Wokingham Borough Council.