Leeds Council rules out charging for ParkRun following backlash

Runners out on the 5k course at the Doncaster parkrun session at Sandall Park.

Runners out on the 5k course at the Doncaster parkrun session at Sandall Park.

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Town hall leaders in Leeds have promised not to make runners pay to take part in local ParkRun events after after a council’s decision to charge for use of its grounds prompted a fierce backlash.

Stoke Gifford Parish Council in Gloucestershire had come under fire over its decision to charge a fee to the organisers of ParkRun UK, who use Little Stoke Park on a Saturday morning.

It claimed the charge was needed to help maintain parks in the city.

The move drew national condemnation from the running community with London marathon winner Paula Radcliffe wading into the debate, saying ParkRun should remain “free for everyone, always”.

Several local authorities in Yorkshire have confirmed they will not be charging people to take part in events on a Saturday morning.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for health, wellbeing and adults at Leeds City Council, said: “We have seven ParkRuns in Leeds which are free and we currently have no plans to change this.

“They are great events that encourage people to live healthy and active lifestyles and this is a key priority for us in the city. We are happy to continue to support these events across the city.”

Wakefield City Council also confirmed it would not be charging runners to use the parks.

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