‘I’d struggle without it’: Little Stoke parkrunners on what it means to them

Published in The Guardian, 4/15/2016


Heather Doody could not hold back the tears as she surveyed the playing fields that were to have been the scene of her sporting triumph on Saturday morning. “I’m sorry, it must seem silly to see me crying but this place means so much to me – it feels like a home from home. I’m really sad.”

Doody was due to complete her 50th parkrun surrounded by the scores of friends she has made in the three-and-a-half years she has been tackling the 5km course at Little Stoke near Bristol.

But the milestone has been denied her after Stoke Gifford parish council became the first to decide to levy a charge against the volunteer-led parkrun movement. There have been howls of protest from sporting stars, health campaigners and amateur runners around the world, but the parish council is standing firm and Saturday’s run will not go ahead.

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