HUNDREDS of athletes of all abilities made sure a first for Hartlepool was a runaway success.
The first-ever Hartlepool Parkrun was held on Saturday and a staggering 287 people took part.
Parkruns have taken off globally, with various similar events held all over the world.
But Hartlepool woman Susan McKenna felt it was time the town got its own Parkrun and spent the past two years bringing the plan to fruition.
The mum-of-three, from Clavering, said: “We were expecting about 250 – we knew people were coming from some of the other Parkrun events around the area, but we didn’t really expect 287.
“We got people from other places including Leeds and Dewsbury. “Parkruns are an international thing, there has been one in Middlesbrough a long time and it’s taken two years to get this one up and running.” Susan, who runs Life Fitness and is a mobile personal trainer specialising in weight loss, added: “After I went to one in Middlesbrough I thought ‘we need one closer to home’.
“They are really taking off.”
The run followed a 5k course from Maritime Avenue at Hartlepool Marina to Seaton Carew and back.
Runners were given a barcode after registering at www.parkrun.org.uk/hartlepool, which record finishing times and position numbers, which can be viewed on the website.
The first female across the line in the inaugural Hartlepool Parkrun was Hannah Oldroyd, in 18 minutes, 15 seconds and the first male to finish was Paul Anthony Wilson in 16 minutes, 40 seconds.
The run was for all ages and abilities, with hardcore runners, including members of Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers club alongside beginners, and there was about 30 children as well as a man running with a pram.
The Parkruns will take place throughout the year, at 9am on Saturdays, and they are followed by refreshments in The Moorings cafe at the marina.
Susan thanked volunteers, including Burn Road Harriers.