Chief Operating Officer for parkrun Tom Williams said:
“We are extremely disappointed that Stoke Gifford Parish Council has voted to impose a charge at Little Stoke parkrun.
“parkrun has had unprecedented success in engaging the least active and encouraging them to exercise regularly. Providing free weekly access has been fundamental to this and we are disappointed that this opportunity is to be removed for the residents of Little Stoke.
“Our aim is to break down barriers to participation in, and delivery of, physical activity and this is consistent across 850 parkruns worldwide, which are all delivered by volunteers and are free to take part in. Imposing a charge at one event is something that contradicts our founding principles and would set a precedent that threatens our future.
“As a nation we must make a decision about whether we want to be healthier or not. The costs to all of us of inactivity and poor health are immense. parkrun has had enormous success at bringing communities together and promoting physical activity in safe and welcoming social environments.
“The past six months have been an uncertain and difficult time for everyone involved with Little Stoke parkrun and our entire global community of more than two million parkrunners is behind them as we discuss our next steps.”
Is this the end for Parkrun?
Parkrun for those outside the UK or those in the UK that have been hiding under a rock is a set of Free timed weekly 5k runs. It is non for profit and since it’s inception has become a huge movement. It is totally run on a volunteer basis and has been a fantastic success. I do not run them as we have no event here but I know people who do and their success has been inspiring.
So I was sad to see one what I can only describe as small minded council in England decide to charge Parkrun for the use of a Public park. In a time when Governments are attempting to address Public health due to an obesity crisis it seems ridiculous to limit a successful event that has got so many people active and in some ways demystified running to non runners.
The sad thing is Parkrun will not pay for the use of the Park because they wont charge participants so this event will be lost. Local people (who the council are meant to represent) will lose out. Not just those who take part in Parkrun, people travel to parkrun’s so local Cafe’s and business will lose custom. I only hope this is just a one off and does not signify and end for these events as they are now. Hopefully not and maybe with the criticism being thrown at the council they may come to their senses.
parkrun reaction to Stoke Gifford Parish Council decision