THE owner of a Goring café will be starting the village’s 10km charity run on Sunday, March 16.
Caroline Pierrepont, who runs Pierreponts in High Street with her husband Stuart, has backed the event since opening the business in 2009.
The couple donate gift vouchers for the café as prizes and give 1,000 home-made flapjacks to runners at the finish.
Mrs Pierrepont, 46, was invited to start the race by Goring Primary School’s parent-teacher association, which has organised the event since 2003.
She said: “It was a really lovely gesture — it made me feel like some kind of minor celebrity. We’ve always given them vouchers and when they needed someone to take over making flapjacks last year we were happy to help.
“A lot of the primary school parents are our customers so we always support it as we want to do our part for the community.”
The race is now the association’s biggest fund-raiser and brings in at least £7,000 annually. This year’s proceeds will go towards new sports kit and coaching for the children.
The Goring 10km was founded in 1997 by postman Clive Wiltshire, from Upper Basildon, who returned to start it last year.
It attracted 112 entrants in its first year but now up to 1,200 people take part.
Mrs Pierrepont said: “The run has become a key fixture in many people’s calendars and brings a lot of people into the village from further afield.”
She and her husband, 56, who live in High Street, are both trained chefs. They moved to Goring from London in 2000 and took over the White Lion at Crays Pond, which they ran until 2005.
Jules Hopkinson, a member of the race organising committee, said: “Caroline and her team contribute massively to the event. The huge numbers of flapjacks that they painstakingly produee make the event unusual and special for all our runners.
“We’re working hard to make sure the Goring 10k isn’t just another local run and it’s touches like this that bring people back year after year.
“With the controversy surrounding the possible arrival of Tesco in the village, it is great to have a successful local business owner start our race. Caroline is somewhat of a local celebrity and has a large and loyal following.”
The race will start outside Storton Lodge in Icknield Road at 11am and finish at Bourdillon Field behind the school.
The current record for completing the course is 33 minutes and 14 seconds, which was set by Gareth Watkins last year.
There will be children’s entertainment and a temporary playground in Bourdillon Field. There will also be live music and stalls selling refreshments and sports gear.
Runners must either register online by Monday or at the school’s PE hall from 9am on the day. Entry is £16 or £14 for members of athletics clubs. For more information and to register, visit www.goring10k.co.uk