This 50th birthday celebration took place on the run -- just like the previous 49. And nearly 200 people showed up in sneakers to put the party in motion.

The Westport Parks and Recreation Department kicked off its 50th summer road race series on Saturday, June 30, with a near-record field of 195 runners who pounded track, pavement and turf along a course that started and finished at Staples Stadium.

Luke McCambley, of Westport, won the 2.3-mile race with a time of 11:57 -- 50 seconds ahead of the next finisher on a course formerly used for Staples High School cross-country meets.

More Information

This week's race Distance: 3.1 miles When: Saturday, July 7 Place: Longshore Park Starting time: 8 a.m. Registration: Begins at 7:30 a.m. at the pavilion next to tennis courts and pool. Parking: Longshore Marina or gravel lots, not tennis and pool lot. Starting line: Longshore Marina parking lot. Finish line: Tennis and pool pavilion.

Still, the 22-year-old McCambley's time was more than a minute and a half off the course record of 10:25 set in 1986 by Roy Mascolino, of Westport.

Joe Nuara, of Bridgeport, finished second with a time of 12:47, just a couple of strides ahead of Westport's David Allen, who was third at 12:50.

Nineteen-year-old Carolyn Murray, of New Cannan, was the first female finisher at 13:00, fifth overall. Mary Dolan-Zengo, of Wilton, was right behind her at 13:06 (sixth overall). Erica Merrill, of Norwalk, was third among women at 14:34, 20th overall.

Other Westport and Weston residents who finished in the top 10 were Paul Greenberg, fourth in 12:54, and Graham Corneck, seventh in 13:11.

The June 30 run was the first of 10 weekly races that will grow gradually longer each Saturday, culminating with a 10-mile test on Saturday, Sept. 1.

This Saturday, July 7, the distance stretches to 3.1 miles on a course that starts and finishes at Longshore Club Park. Top runners with hopes of challenging the course records will have their work cut out: The men's and women's records both were set more than 30 years ago.

The course mark of 14:48 was set by Bruce Merrill, of Stamford, in 1978. The women's record of 17:19 was set by Sally Zimmer in 1981.

The series features a grand prix scoring system for regular competitors, with points awarded to the top finishers in seven men's divisions and seven women's divisions. Entry fees for individual races are $5 for Westport residents, $8 for nonresidents. Fees for the entire series are $30 for residents, $50 for nonresidents. With nine races remaining, the series fee still is a discount from single-race fees.

Grand Prix points

Grand Prix points awarded in the July 30 race:

Men's Divisions

Junior: Brendan Mahoney, 3; Joshua Vega, 2; Henry Carter, 1. Open: Luke McCambley, 3; Joe Nuara, 2; Lucas Gubinski, 1. Sub-Masters: Josh Lander, 3; John Tarantino, 2; Alex Cotter, 1. Masters: David Allen, 3; Graham Corneck, 2; Ed O'Keefe, 1. Grand Masters: Paul Greenberg, 3; Hugh Kuchta, 2; Roland Lochoff, 1. Veterans: Sal Mulia, 3; Ramsay Merriss, 2; Steve Sylvestro, 1. Grand Veterans: Bob Goldblatt, 3; Watt White, 2; Jim Stevens, 1.

Women's Divisions

Junior: Carolyn Murray, 3; Courtney Mullen, 2; Dawn Hubbell, 1. Open: Alexa Gubinski, 3; Melissa Hylton, 2; Sara Ross, 1. Sub-Masters: Victoria Lieter, 3; Kristen Scott, 2; Meghan Halky, 1. Masters: Mary Dolan-Zengo, 3; Erica Merrill, 2; Jennifer Bentley, 1. Grand Masters: Terry Bernard, 3; Dorit Heimer, 2; Katherine Radziewicz, 1. Veterans: Rosemary Mulia, 3; Carol Kane; 2. Grand Veterans: Norma Minkowitz, 3; Sandy Lefkowitz, 2.

Complete results of Saturday's race and the full schedule of remaining races are available at the race series' website -- www. westportroadrunners.org