Heavy rain on Sunday made it a very wet start for those at the Kings Langley Puffaten – but nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the youngsters in the two fun runs.
There was just time to make a pit stop at the KLIPSA (Parent Teachers Association) tuck shop before the warm-up with Wonderwoman.
Bob and Wendy McLean, Mayor and Mayoress of Dacorum, arrived as this year’s guests of honour in time to watch the warm up and meet some of the younger athletes.
Every year there is genuine surprise as the runners in the 1.5k disappear out of the school field and before there is time to draw breath, the first runners are back within four or five minutes.
This year was no exception as Ben Franklin Green (9) came home in 4.27m and Sophie Bowker (7) came home in 5.02m as first boy and girl.
In the 3k there was an opportunity for some of the older children to have a run which took them a bit further afield, this time incorporating the north end of the High Street.
There were lots of individual battles in this race and lots of pride at stake. For the school, Jack Denham (11) in 12.34 (a record for the race) and Eloise Dickins (11) in 14.21 were first home. Amongst the older runners, Matt Cullen (over 21) in 13.11 and Jessica Chadwick (13 and winner for the 3rd year in a row) in 14.10 were first home.
At the start of the 10k there was a minute’s applause in memory of John Cherry, a talented athlete and the founder of the Puffarun nearly 30 years ago, who died last year.
John’s motivation for starting the Puffa fun run was to bring running to all ages and, in particular, the people of Kings Langley.
John’s wife Pat and daughters Anna and Rebecca donated a Founder’s trophy in his memory which was awarded to the first resident of the parish of Kings Langley to complete the 10k each year; both Rebecca and Anna took part in the 10k race.
The route takes runners through both Kings Langley and Chipperfield, providing a challenging course which nevertheless provided some excellent times. Will Cullen from Radley AC was the first man in 35.40 and Kings Langley runner Deidre Heydecker (St Albans Striders) first woman in 48.41.
In the Vets category, Watford Joggers Robert Gaddie (44.23) and Alistair Balderson battled it out and another Kings Langley runner Penelope Christophorou (52.15) was the first female Vet home.
The winner of the John Cherry Founders Trophy was Terry Funnell, a local electrician and retained fireman who was unfortunately called out before he could receive his trophy. He finally received his trophy from Howard Button, chair of Kings Langley Parish Council.