It may or may not be anything to do with the two pints of cider that I consumed post-run this evening, but today has been one of those days where I am so happy and thankful to be a runner!!
After the ludicrous vote by Stoke Gifford parish council in Bristol to impose a charge on Little Stoke parkrun for using a public park – the first case of its kind in the world – there was a lot of negativity on social media last night. I was barely able to sleep after writing my own massive rant about the stupidity and short-sightedness of the decision, and thousands of other passionate parkrunners also took to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online petitions, emails and even the national news to air their outrage.
Some people have been spamming the parish councillors’ email addresses with angry emails, and many others have been talking about staging a protest parkrun involving thousands of people descending on Little Stoke this Saturday. I even considered that this might be something I’d like to do, if I wasn’t going away this weekend.
Parkrun UK has formally expressed its disappointment and announced that the council’s decision will be appealed. In the meantime, and in the event that the decision is not overturned, Little Stoke’s event directors are standing true to the spirit of parkrun by announcing that they will not bend to the council’s ridiculous charge, but will find an alternative venue that will keep parkrun “free forever”.
Tweets and shares quickly did the rounds to discourage angry parkrunners from staging any kind of vigilante protest run, and later an official email from parkrun UK was circulated to quiet everyone down, urging the parkrun community to “remain calm and measured in our actions” while the organisation deals with the fiasco via “the proper channels”. I dare say that there will be more than the average number of runners at Little Stoke this weekend, since Stoke Gifford parish council have so “graciously” given until the end of May to reach a resolution (i.e. if you won’t pay to use the park yourself, apply for a grant and get someone else to pay on your behalf), but I suppose this just goes to show how passionate people feel about parkrun, and the the threat that Stoke Gifford’s decision might pose to their own events around the country, and the world. It really is very humbling and I am so proud to be a part of the parkrun family!
Anyway, I had a fabulous run in the sun this evening with the guys from Run Alcester. The pace was pretty quick for me tonight – averaging 9:38 minute miles! – and we finished up in the pub. Which brings this blog post full-circle. Mmm cider…