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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 April 2016

Free runs threatened

Brett Lohmeyer/Creative Commons

Brett Lohmeyer/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Parkrunning socialists

A parish council in Gloucestershire has voted to start asking for 'donations' from runners at free weekly 'Parkrun' events. Stoke Gifford Parish Council does not pay for the volunteers who set up the event in an open public space.

Socialists say that taking part in Parkrun should be free for all. 'Voluntary contributions' should be fought. How long before charging becomes mandatory?

Parkrun is a free 5km event which boasts an incredible 932,917 runners with events at 185 locations. That is just in the UK.

Participants take turns to marshal and keep time throughout the year. Runners of all standards, from club runners to people running their first ever event, are encouraged and welcomed.

Many events take place on parks owned or managed by local councils. It now appears that one such parish council sees an opportunity to make a bit of cash out of people living healthy lives.

Local councils and central governments of every shade regularly tell us they want us to keep fit. Rather than trying to pass the cost of healthy living and recreation onto local runners, councils should refuse to pass on government cuts.

The Panama Papers show the money in society is there. It just needs to be in the hands of the 99%, not the 1%.

All runners should support Little Stoke Parkrun. Stepping up the protests - for example, turning up en masse to Little Stoke Parkrun - would help show the strength of feeling. Bold opposition can act as a deterrent to other councils.

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In The Socialist 20 April 2016:


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