Amateur running group Parkrun has moved a step closer to staging events in Battersea Park following discussions between the town hall and the group’s local organisers.
Subject to further clarification of some essential details, Parkrun could begin organising events in this iconic London open space on an initial trial basis to see how the races impact on the park and other park users.
The council and its leisure and culture contractor Enable have made good progress in their discussions with Parkrun’s local representatives, and as a result, the council is minded to give the initiative an “in principle” approval
Parkrun already operates every Saturday morning on Tooting Common following a successful six month pilot scheme that began in January 2016.
And following in its wake, Junior Parkrun events for children aged between four and 14 are also set to commence on Tooting Common in March.
The 5km Battersea Park route could commence at The Bandstand and utilise the park’s carriage drives which form an internal ring road.
This route would avoid grassed areas and ensure runners kept to the park’s wide and spacious avenues.
As part of the discussions the council has also sought the views of the important local amenity group The Friends of Battersea Park.
Environment spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “As a result of the ongoing discussions we have had with representatives from Parkrun we believe these events could begin in Battersea Park.
“There are some important outstanding issues that still need to be ironed out but there is a willingness on both sides to work together to make this happen.
“Our important partners in The Friends of Battersea Park have also given the initiative a cautious welcome, as long as it does not cause damage to the park or cause undue inconvenience to other park users. We have stressed to Parkrun’s organisers the crucial role they will have to play to ensure these events are properly managed and supervised.
“Of course if problems do arise during the trial period then we would look to address these straight away.
“We absolutely support initiatives that promote sports and fitness and inspire our residents to lead healthier, more active lifestyles and if and when Parkrun commences in Battersea Park we will be particularly keen to ensure that local people living nearby and in Battersea’s surrounding neighbourhoods are actively encouraged to get involved.”
Before any events can be staged Parkrun’s local organisers will also need to submit their plans and win the backing of the group’s head office.