Little Stoke parkrun closes - Women's Running UK

Little Stoke parkrun closes

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  June 2, 2016

Little Stoke parkrun closes

parkrun has announced the closure of Little Stoke parkrun in Bristol after Stoke Gifford Parish Council revoked permission to run in Little Stoke Park for free.

Since the council vote last month, to introduce a charge for Little Stoke parkrun, thousands signed a petition, asking the council to keep parkrun free. Despite this, and attempts by parkrun to engage with the council to offer alternative ways of contributing to the sustainability of the park, Stoke Gifford Parish is refusing to budge on its decision to enforce a charge.

The council claimed it was unfair to expect non-running residents to pay for wear and tear of the park, initially requesting for parkrun to charge runners £1 per parkrun. However, the council subsequently revised this requirement, requesting parkrun to contribute financially to the maintenance of the park instead.

However, parkrun organisers have stated that a charge for parkrun “went completely against [their] most fundamental principles and, as a free event, their subsequently revised requirement for parkrun to contribute financially to the maintenance of the park is also something [they] are unable to do.”

The parkrun, which opened back in 2012, has been an integral part of the local community, attracting over 300 runners each week, and this will be the first time in the history of parkrun that organisers have had to close one of its free, weekly, timed runs.

Tom Williams, chief operating officer for parkrun, expressed “a great sense of sadness over the decision.” He said:

“Over the past 12 years parkrun has grown from 13 runners in one park to 150,000 runners at 900 locations around the world, every week. Key to this success has been our determination to remove as many barriers to participation as possible, with cost being one of the most critical.

“From the outset, and despite significant efforts from many people inside and outside of parkrun, we were unable to convince [Stoke Gifford Parish Council] of the true value that a parkrun event provides to its local community.”

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