Green Light For Free Parkruns In Local Parks

Councillors approve proposals for trail period for amateur running group events

Members of the community services overview and scrutiny committee endorsed proposals that are expected to see Parkrun commence staging events on a six month trial basis.

Because the council is keen to promote sports and fitness and encourage residents to lead healthier lifestyles, councillors welcomed the initiative, subject to the council’s normal terms and conditions for large scale public events being successfully met.

These are designed to ensure that events that could potentially attract hundreds of people are managed safely, are properly stewarded and have robust emergency plans in place in case runners are taken ill or suffer a medical emergency while participating.

Other considerations include having adequate arrangements in place to pick up any litter left behind by the runners and prevent any damage being caused to the open space.

Councillors have agreed that town hall officials will enter into discussions with Parkrun so that their events can commence on a trial basis. This would allow the council to assess the impact of the runs on the borough’s open spaces and also to monitor how well Parkrun manages their events.

The council also decided to offer Parkrun a grant from its public health budget to fund the initiative. At last night’s meeting the group’s representatives conceded that their events in Bushy Park, a royal park in neighbouring Richmond, are funded by Richmond Council.

On Friday Wandsworth’s community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said:
“Last night’s decision paves the way for an agreement to be reached which will enable Parkrun to start organising races in the borough. We support their aims and ideals and are keen for them to start arranging events in Wandsworth. This would reinforce the work we already do to encourage people to take regular exercise and stay fit and healthy.

“It was interesting to learn that our proposal to fund this healthy initiative mirrors the type of financial arrangement that allows Parkrun to operate in neighbouring Richmond. This should mean there is no financial obstacle to them organising runs in Wandsworth

“Our officers will now meet with the group’s representatives as we look to move this process forward so that local people can start taking part in Parkrun’s Wandsworth events.”

November 29, 2014