A LAKE District runner has completed an alphabet challenge by doing parkruns across the UK.

Eileen Jones, from Ambleside, visited Upton Court parkrun at Slough to finish the alphabet quest of 24 initial letters.

But she has yet to join the elite group of around 100 runners who have also added Z, at a parkrun in Poland (Zary). There are no parkruns – yet – beginning with X anywhere in the world.

Eileen, who works in public relations, and is a member of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, has done almost 200 parkruns overall in 67 different locations.

“I was an accidental parkrun tourist at first,” she said. “I would do different ones around London when my sons moved there, and gradually it became a reason to visit new places.

"But the format, the rituals and the friendly, inclusive atmosphere, are the same everywhere.”

This year she’s been to Inverness and Jersey on the alphabet quest, along with Florence in Italy “even though I’d already done several Fs.”

One of the team who helped set up the Fell Foot parkrun four years ago, Eileen says that parkrun gave her running a new lease of life.

“I used to do fell races, but they stopped being fun when I was so far at the back it wasn’t like taking part any more. And injuries meant I had to cut back on distance running. So parkrun has been my salvation, and it’s opened up a whole new set of challenges. I’ve met some wonderful people, and I’ve been to places I’d never have seen otherwise.”

Eileen still trains on the fells, and rising to a challenge set by a friend, last year ran up and down her local hill, Loughrigg, 52 times.

Her parkrun favourites both begin with M: Malahide, near Dublin, “a beautiful country park with the most amazing breakfast café”, and Mount Edgcumbe, near Plymouth. “That’s reached by a tiny ferry across the estuary and is run in the grounds of a stately home, with a steep climb onto the headland and stunning views out to sea, then a terrific descent through the woods.”

There are plenty of challenges left, along with trying to beat her personal best; she has one more Cumbrian parkrun to do to become a “regionnaire”, and is close to joining the “Stayin’ Alive” group – three Bs and three Gs.