Horsham’s ‘phenomenally successful’ weekly parkrun will remain free in the future, Horsham District Council has confirmed.
However, volunteers are being sought to tidy Horsham Park and repair any damage caused by the event, in order to maintain the condition of the park.
Last week, a council became the first in the world to charge Parkrun a fee to hold the event.
The decision to charge the users of Little Stoke Park, near Bristol, sparked a backlash - with more than 50,000 people signing an online petition opposing the decision.
Jonathan Chowen, Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for community and culture, said Horsham will not be following suit.
He said: “Horsham District Council is fully supportive of the local parkrun, organised every weekend in Horsham Park.
“It provides an easy and free way to keep active while enjoying our beautiful park and has been phenomenally successful. We have no plans to start charging for this event and wish to encourage as much use of the park as possible.
“The council has a good working relationship with the local organisers and are looking at ways to address the muddy patches at several ‘pinch points’.
“One suggestion being explored with interest is establishing a number of parkrun volunteer ‘Park Tidy’ events each year, so that runners can put something back into Horsham Park and repair any damage caused. It’s then a win-win for everyone.”
Around 20 people have already volunteered on social media to help at the ‘Park Tidy’ events, a council spokesperson added.
More than 200 runners regularly take part in the hugely popular event.
Social media users have previously noted that the success of the event has led to parts of the park being turned into a ‘muddy bog’, as reported by the County Times in February.
Parkrun is an international phenomenon that sees participants run a 5km course every week.
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