Not many sporting events are started off by people whose combined ages total 204 years.

But that was the case for the first Walney Island Road Race held in 1996, which was started off by 103-year-old Rose Ashton and 101-year-old Alice Dribbell, who lived in Walney’s two residential homes.

More than 120 runners under 16 years old took part in the three-mile race and competed for the opportunity of winning one of the six Atlanta trophies on offer.

A large crowd, including proud parents, relatives and friends, joined Barrow MP John Hutton, mayor of Barrow Steve Derbyshire, Paralympic hopeful swimmer Shaun Uren and district and county councillors in cheering on the youngsters.

First past the post was Craig Matheson, a pupil at Thorncliffe School, who completed the course in 18 minutes 16 seconds.

Eleven-year-old Sarah Price, of Vickerstown School, was the first girl, with a time of 21 minutes 19 seconds.

Organiser Pat Ryan, a member of the Barrow sports advisory committee, had visited all the schools on Walney to encouraged pupils to join in.

His hard work paid off when hundreds of people gathered at the Periscope pub to support the runners.

He said the day had been a great success and she believed the race would become an annual event.

“We have succeeded in encouraging the youth of the island to take part in sport. There’s terrific talent out there,” he said.

All money raised from race entries was to be donated to Walney’s West Point House and Combe House for the elderly.

The second road race, in 1997, was a triumph for community spirit, said organiser Pat Ryan.

There were 66 boys and girls taking part.

The event began at the Castle House Hotel on Biggar Bank Road. The winners were Boys: 1 Simon Newton, 2 Royce Haslam, 3 Stuart Tippett. Girls: 1 Sarah Price, 2 Laura Whalley, 3 Samantha Thomason