Running free: Government launches consultation aiming to ban councils charging for Parkruns and Junior Parkruns

 
Francesca Washtell
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Autumn Colours Enjoyed In Central London.
Under new plans Parkruns will stay free-to-hold events (Source: Getty)

If you are one of the increasing numbers of City folk adopting a healthier lifestyle and taking up Parkruns, you'll be glad to know new government laws want to make sure you can keep doing so for free.

New laws under consideration would prevent UK councils from charging thousands of runners who take part in free, weekly timed 5km runs in public parks, organised by a group called Parkrun, according to a consultation released this week.

The legislation rethink has been triggered by a parish council in Little Stoke, near Bristol, which asked organisers to pay £1 per runner last year that was said to be needed for maintenance as the weekly run was so popular it was causing damage.

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The plan is also consulting on whether to extend the proposals beyond Parkrun to other organisations.

London runners are able to attend Parkrun events, which are run by volunteers every Saturday morning, in green spaces including Greenwich Park, Wimbledon Common, Hackney Marshes, Southwark Park and the grounds of Ally Pally. Parkrun events are organised every week throughout the country, as well as several other European countries, Australia, South Africa, the US and elsewhere.

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In the consultation document, the government said:

We as a government support the principles behind these [Parkrun] events, which provide a great way to use our parks, are excellent examples of communities organising events on a voluntary basis and enable the public as individuals, families and groups to enjoy healthy exercise.

"We are really pleased to see the government’s passion for protecting public areas of open space so that future generations are able to enjoy them as we do," chief operating officer for Parkrun UK Tom Williams told the Times.

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