ORGANISERS could not have wished for a more perfect day to hold a town's inaugural Parkrun.

On Saturday eager participants gathered in Ulverston's Ford Park to take part in the hugely popular fitness event.

Whether running flat out to beat a personal best or walking the course with a family pet, the 5km events have been held in their tens of thousands since being launched in 2004.

After holding a test run last weekend the stage was set for the first competitive outing in Parkrun's newest location.

Stewart Wallace, event support ambassador for Parkrun, said: "It's absolutely fantastic. We have the perfect number of people to get the team used to the running of the event, rather than 200 or 250 people turning up.

"It's a great number for a great launch."

Ulverston is no stranger to running competitions. With numerous marathons, half marathons, triathlons and fell running events held throughout the year, and a plethora of professional clubs taking part, the addition of Parkrun is yet another arrow in the quiver of the town's sporting scene.

But, says Mr Wallace, the presence of elite athletes in the community will hopefully inspire ordinary men women and children to want to get fitter; Parkrun providing the perfect avenue for that goal.

"I think it will give the kids of the town inspiration, the new runners as well to be lined up with great athletes. But it is not a race, it's something to go at at your own pace."

He added as the Parkrun develops there are hopes to make it as accessible as possible. He did not rule out changes to the route to accommodate athletes of a range of abilities from the youngest to the oldest runners, to people with physical or mental disabilities.

In any athletic feat there will always be one person over the finish line. On Saturday this honour fell to Stuart Garnett, 33, of Dalton.

Catching his breath after crossing the line, the Ulverston Tri Club member said: "I've run many of the Barrow Parkruns but it is exciting that Ulverston has got one. It's good for the area."

Mr Garnett was followed by Ulverston 16-year-old Connor O'Hara and Sam Blackburn, of Ulverston.

The first female finisher was 29-year-old Ulverston runner Rebecca Gledhill, representing the Black Combe Runners. She was pleased to finally have a Parkrun on her doorstep, rather than having to travel to the nearest events in Barrow, or Fell Foot.

She said: "The run was really good. Nice and flat, you can go quickly. I'd definitely come again. I love about a minute away so I've always had to go through to Barrow."

The event attracted runners from outside of the area, including towns such as Lancaster and Preston. Pat Thomas, the event co-director, said there will be a map of the UK in the Ford Park cafe at every Parkrun, with runners encouraged to place a pin noting where they have come from.

The Parkrun will take place every Saturday from 9am in Ford Park. To find out how you can take part, visit