Agreement paves way for Parkrun to come to Wandsworth

Published: Friday 28th November 14

Councillors last night (Thursday) approved proposals that open up the way for amateur running group Parkrun UK to begin organising races in Wandsworth’s parks and open spaces.

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.

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.”

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Recent comments

Three months on, in February 2015 and the gates to Battersea Park are still locked to all my requests to launch a parkrun. No doubt they will open just in time to let in 30,000 paying runners for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship this year.
Paul C.

13 February 2015

All seems very confusing to me - could Wandsworth Council please tell us when and where the trial will start in 2015? In the interim, I will keep driving to bushy park (it takes 35 minutes each Saturday) but worth it to participate in this wonderful community event! Not very Eco friendly though!
Jeremy A

1 January 2015

How interesting to see the difference between what the council's self-promoting email claims, and the reality as reported by those attending the meeting. I hope this gets sorted out soon. To call Parkrun 'amateur' is disingenuous; they are a professional non-profit, funded by non-council sources.
GD

1 December 2014

There is no 'agreement' to be reached. There is nothing further to discuss. Why not simply follow the example of more than 500 authorities worldwide and grant permission for parkrun to hold free weekly running events in a public space. Why are you different?
Neil Sutton

30 November 2014

As 'parkrun for Wandsworth' co-petitioner I was also at the meeting. I was main speaker on the deputation that represented over 1,000 local runners and which spoke for 800+ local signatories. I recognise very little in Wandsworth's blog statement. If it look confusing this is what has happened: WBC accepts the recommendation of WBC for WBC to pay WBC for parkrun – parkrun isn't able to accept that contrivance; parkrun has to remain free to ALL local authorities. This remains the position after 6 years. Meanwhile data from the west of the Borough puts child obesity at some ages at 20%. The borough’s statement is disappointing.
Andy Bullock

29 November 2014

Dear Wandsworth Borough Council, Thanks for posting this so promptly. Unfortunately, having been there last night in support of the local volunteers and having participated myself in the reasonably in-depth Q&A, I'm not sure I see the outcome quite the same way you do. My interpretation of last night's events was actually that we weren't able to reach a point where we were able to move forwards in establishing a parkrun event in your borough. Once we've had time to reflect further on last night's meeting and your blog post above we'll respond directly. Kind regards, Tom Williams Managing Director parkrun Limited
Tom Williams

28 November 2014

Good news - hope it can progress quickly from here.
Paul Lickman

28 November 2014

Glad the Parkrun trial has been approved, looking forward to participating!
VNK

28 November 2014