Harrogate council - Parkrun is safe from fees

Runners taking part in the popular Harrogate Parkrun on The Stray,
Runners taking part in the popular Harrogate Parkrun on The Stray,
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The organisers of Harrogate’s hugely popular Parkrun need not worry - Harrogate’s is one council that will not be making them pay to hold it.

A news frenzy broke out in the national media last week when Stoke Gifford Parish Council voted to charge the organisers of Parkrun UK in Little Stoke Park, near Bristol for using its public park on a Saturday morning.

But Harrogate Borough Council has said it is keen to support the weekly 5k run on Saturdays mornings on The Stray which is free to enter and not-for-profit.

Patrick Kilburn, Harrogate Borough Council’s head of parks and environmental services said: “The council recognises the importance of the Harrogate Parkrun to the community and we have no intention of charging the organisers to use The Stray.

“Harrogate is extremely lucky to have such a beautiful area of open space so close to the town centre and we want to encourage people to use it.”

When the news first spread of the decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council to charge Parkrun organisers a fee, London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe called the decision “short-sighted.”

Parkrun currently takes place in 396 towns and cities nationwide but its popularity is spreading each year.

Harrogate’s first started on The Stray in 2012.

A new one was introduced at Fountains Abbey near Ripon as recently as 2014.

But Harrogate Borough Council, which is charged by Act of Parliament to protect The Stray, is urging Parkrun participants to treat The Stray with respect.

Patrick Kilburn, said: “Due to the numbers of people taking part in the park run we would ask them to be respectful of the land.

“We are keen for the organisers to vary the routes that are followed and for the participants to be aware of the flowers that are planted on the Stray and to be careful not to run over them.”