Fake blood and bandages were among the smiles and scrubs worn at a party in a Carlisle park marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

Saturday morning’s regular free parkrun in Chances Park, Morton was taken over by a record-breaking 380-strong crowd.

Many were NHS employees and others who wanted to pop along to say thanks for the nation’s health service.

So simple and popular was the idea from regular Carlisle parkrunner Nicola Jackson that word spread among the movement and other NHS organisations and it was adopted by some 360 parkruns across the UK, including Workington and Millom in Cumbria.

Around 85,000 people were expected to take part in one of the #NHS70parkrun events.

The anniversary celebration was also a milestone for several of those who took part.

Tracey Anderson, 53, has worked in the NHS since she was 18.

On Saturday Tracey, a healthcare assistant at the Cumberland Infirmary, was taking part in her 100th parkrun.

She said: “I can’t believe I’m here and in scrubs. I never thought I’d still be doing parkrun now after coming along for the first time a couple of years ago. I’d never ran before.

“No one bothers how fast or slow you’re going and everyone cheers you on.”

Others celebrating on Saturday included Carlisle parkrun stalwarts Andy Baker and Steve Viney, who both clocked up their 250th events; Roy Weisser and Susan Bathelmes doing their 50th parkruns; and Mike Oliver and Rebecca Harris, who are both teachers at nearby St Bede’s School.

Mike and Rebecca, taking part in their 50th and 100th parkruns respectively, were being cheered on by colleagues and pupils along the three-lap 5km route round the park.

Cumbria’s director of public health Colin Cox was among those taking part for the first time.

Addressing the hundreds who had gathered before the 9am start, he said: “The best gift you can give the NHS is to stay active and parkrun is a great way to do that. If parkrun was a pill everyone would want it.”

Dr David Rogers, medical director for NHS North Cumbria CCG, was walking the route.

He said: “It is fantastic how an idea from Nicola has just spread so far across the country.”

Bunting and balloons lined the course and outside Morton Manor were stalls and a poignant ‘thank you’ board where people left their own messages of support on sticky notes.

Lindsay Graham, from parkrun, said: “Carlisle parkrun has been running for five years since January 2013 and we did something after London 2012 to raise the profile of volunteering but we’ve never collaborated with the NHS on this scale before.

“The CCG team here have worked so hard on this and now to have 360 or so events all doing something like this because of an idea in north Cumbria is tremendous.

“I hope it dispels a few myths about parkrun that it is just for runners, it is not. It is for anyone whether you run, walk or jog.”