DETERMINED young athlete Tristan Bamford, who beat cancer, was the VIP starter for the Broad Town 5.

The youngster was given the important role after organiser had to turn down his bid to run the race last weekend with his dad Mark because he was too young.

Mark, who ran the 100 kms South Coast Challenge last year to raise money for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, approached the Royal Wootton Bassett Hounds Running Club to ask if Tristan could take part in the race, which set off from Broad Town School fete.

But because of insurance restrictions and England Athletics guidelines that limit the maximum distance for a nine year old to 5kms the Hounds had to say no.

But, knowing that even at his tender age the young man was already a veteran of several runs, they came up with a plan.

“Rather than disappoint Tristan and possibly discourage him from running, we thought it would be a great idea to get him to start the race,” said chairman Rob Davies.

Tristan, whose battle with neuroblastoma featured in the Advertiser, has already taken part in the Great South mini run and one at Heyford Park Airbase.

He was diagnosed with the condition at nine weeks old after his worried parents took him to the Great Western Hospital with a swollen tummy.

He was referred to the John Radcliffe in Oxford and underwent several operations and chemotherapy, spending three months in hospital. He then had to go for annual scans and check-ups for the next eight years until 2016 when doctors pronounced him clear of the disease.

“Nine years on Tristan is now fighting fit,” said Mark. “Over the past few years he has started to follow in my footsteps of the love of running. He has completed many runs including the following Bupa great south mini run two years running, Donnington park fun run along with many others.

He added: “He is just starting to get to the age where he wants to push himself a little further and is starting to develop some really good running skills.”

The race, which had 202 entrants running in very warm weather conditions, was eventually won by Simon Nott from Calne Running Club with Joseph Donworth of Frome Running Club in second and Brian Jeffery from Chippenham Harriers in third. First hound past the post was Tim Purvey in ninth position.