This stamps on the beautiful idea of parkrun being always free and for everyone. It sets a dangerous precedent and will likely give other underfunded councils ideas. It makes me angry beyond belief.
But I'm a problem solver. Stoke Gifford Parish Council claim they need money to fix the park. Fine. Here's some ideas to do just that. I'm proverbially teaching them to fish so they stop trying to "fish tax" parkrun.
All they'd need would be a little cart serving tea, coffee and cake. It's a tried and tested idea. There are some excellent schemes for homeless people providing carts like these. Here
Cake could be purchased from a local bakery and it would be a nice part time job for a local young person, running the cart.
I'm not saying it would make millions, but enough to make a dent in the maintenance bill. Plus it could be used at other local events.
What you have at parkrun, is a delightful mix of the running community. Young/old, fast/slow, new/old timers, racers/just for fun. That's what makes it brilliant.
Some, like me, find out about local races from chatting with fellow runners and hearing what they've signed up for. If the council were to organise a race in the community, held on a non parkrun day, the park would be a logical place to advertise it. Not everyone would want to take part but there would be some sign ups. And people wouldn't mind being offered a leaflet or seeing a poster. Obstacle races/races round local hills are popular these days.
Even better, organise a running roadshow! Brands and service providers could pay for stalls and a small entrance fee could be charged. I went to a cycling roadshow earlier this year mainly to test out sports nutrition for running!
There is money to be made from hobby running. The difference is that we must be allowed to choose if we want to do this and feel that we're getting a special experience.
SPORTS JUMBLE SALE
Parkrunners could bring their unwanted, lycra, gadgets and, as my Welsh Godmother would call them "nicky nacky noos" along with them. They'd run as usual and afterwards head to a local hall or parish building to rummage for bargains. Set at charity shop prices, with the cash going to fix the paths, everyone would win. Unsold items could be donated to charity. Participation would, as ever, be free and optional.
So, there we go councillors. Rather than attacking the concept of free but organised exercise offered by my favourite organisation. Couldn't you have a wee think and fund your park some other way? I understand that you think you're protecting your community. However you are attacking mine.
If I can think up 3 ideas overnight, then surely you can come up with a few too.
Put your minds to it. Maybe it'll be an idea as brilliant as parkrun.
(Although I doubt it)
Run Cat Girl Run x x x