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Posts posted by JonM

  1. If you're going to make those sorts of comparisons how much rent do they pay? If they pay a comparative amount for their property to you and I out of their vast private wealth then fair enough.


    The owners of West Ham FC got a good bit more than £390m spent on their gaffe by the taxpayer and pay sod all rent. At least the royal family don't make their income off pornography.


    I thought the point about Buckingham Palace was that the queen goes there for meetings, she spends most of her nights elsewhere. It's a government building. The amount being spent will be dwarfed by the cost of doing up Westminster, presumably.

  2. Definitely take the course. Apart from the fine, there's also the effect on your insurance to worry about.


    The 32 will be after they've deducted 10% and whatever error margin they allow (3mph?) They'll have evidence that you were doing 37 or so if they've put 32 on the ticket.

  3. Took me nearly 4 hours to get home instead of the expected 55 mins, but that was because my youngest son got separated from us at one of the stop/go boards, didn't have a working phone and couldn't remember what tube station to go to. He couldn't use a phonebox either because he doesn't know any phone numbers because they're stored in his phone. And guess what, he doesn't know how to walk anywhere, because he needs his phone to give him directions. Teenagers!

  4. Very sad news. He was a member of Doncaster AC in his sixties. His wife was there with him, sounds like even prompt help from fellow runners and the ambulance service was unable to help.


    At Cambridge, we have several GPs & paramedics who regularly run and parkrunners helped to raise the funds to provide the country park with a defib. Only helps with one class of problems, of course.


    I did Edinburgh last week with 629 people - amazing that a pop-up event that's been and gone by 10.30am could be so easily and slickly organised by volunteers. And this happens every week.


    I really enjoy the volunteering aspect of parkrun - met a lot of nice people doing it.


    We had 532 at Cambridge last week, which feels like a bit more than the course can comfortably accomodate. The car park fees from parkrunners are the park's biggest source of income and they spent some of that money upgrading to gravel paths over the summer, but no way to make them wider.


    Lots of parkruns had Olympic visitors last week, because of the ITV IamteamGB thing.

  6. The difference being that all charities above a pretty low threshold (although recently raised) have to put out full audited accounts with accompanying narrative and notes.  The detail required goes above and beyond anything required of private companies of similar size - and it's all available for any member of the public to view.


    As an aside, I was wondering why sports governing bodies are mostly companies rather than charities - and it seems like sport was not considered a charitable thing until a change in the law a few years ago. Today, the law explicitly says that the promotion of any particular sport, for its own sake, is not a charitable purpose.


    However, community amateur sporting clubs are now allowed to become a charity, where their aim is to promote "community participation in healthy recreation by providing facilities for playing particular sports." So are organisations which exist specifically to promote sport for young people.


    So, the RFL can't be a charity, but a suitably constituted community RL club could be. It's not clear to me which side of the line parkrun would fall on. If their aim is to organise a series of free, timed, weekly 5km runs, that's not a charitable purpose. If their aim is to improve public health by encouraging mass participation in running, that might be allowed. 

  7. Exactly. parkrun is insured through UK Athletics, hence the rules about unaccompanied children, it being a run rather than a race, first finisher rather than a winner and so forth.


    I did a parkrun on Forestry commission land a couple of weeks ago, with rabbit holes all over the course. Our local parkrun is a sea of mud at the moment without a concrete path in sight and we had someone with a broken elbow from slipping on ice a while back, so the prospect of someone suing for a cracked pavement seems remote. You've voluntarily signed up to do it and have had multiple warnings about conditions underfoot before running and the volunteer organisers have highlighted the need for care before every race. Local councils don't get sued for football injuries unless someone can prove negligence. I just don't see it as a big worry in the UK (although I imagine it's one of the things that has held it back in the US, where it hasn't taken off anything like as quickly as in Europe, Australia etc.)


    On the "no publicity is bad publicity" front, nearly 15 000 people signed up for parkrun in the UK this week.

  8. The other 'advantage' of being a charity is that your accounts, who you pay, what you do with your money and how many people you help are all publicly available and publicly challengeable.


    If all you do is file two sheets of unaudited figures you can put out any old tut.


    Regular private eye readers will know that charities also appear to be able to put out any old tut, with the regulator seemingly showing little interest in auditing (or being charitable, not being given the resources to properly regulate.)


    I'd think the key organisational challenge for something like parkrun would be staying out of trouble from ambulance chasing lawyers - with the number of people running each week, it's inevitable that there will be injuries, heart attacks, child protection scares etc etc. so having limited liability for employees & volunteers is going to be paramount. UK athletics enforced quite a few changes in the way they operate so that children could continue running - it's a run, not a race and there are first finishers rather than winners, because of insurance concerns over under-16s running at the same time as adults.


    Struggle to see how there could be much financially dodgy happening with parkrun, even without looking at accounts. The only people putting money in regularly are sponsors and it's pretty obvious where the outgoings are.  

  9. National Trust contributes nothing. It's members and paying visitors and the taxpayer do, though.


    My point was more GingerJon's throwaway about "don't get me started on national trust". I thought the comparatively large amount of people they were able to devote to parkrun in comparison with how many employees parkrun has was noteworthy. Their argument is that it's self-sustaining financially due to the increase in visitor numbers & membership at those properties and that's why they're expanding the number.

  10. You'll have the data to back up that Parkrun has reached more people more effectively than anything any council has ever done, ever.


    Like many things, it depends on how you measure it, but with over a million people in the UK having done a parkrun, off very little public money (hard to get exact figures, but I'd guesstimate about £200k from councils over the space of about five years). It would be quite hard for any council to do better. Arguably, public health is more of a NHS responsibility than local councils and the NHS couch to 5k programme ties in quite nicely with parkrun..


    (Obviously that million figure will include people who have registered with two different emali addresses, but equally there are people like my wife who have done parkrun a couple of times but never bothered to sign up.)

  11. Park run is brilliant and something like this is only going to threaten its existence.

    As somebody else alluded to, how much do councils spend on trying to promote healthy living and exercise to absolutely no effect? Here's something that has got people actually doing exercise and they'll end up ruining it.


    The irony here is that in true local government style, the district council provided the initial funding for the parkrun (and is currently making funding available for another nearby.) The district council also owns the park in question, but it is leased to the parish council. I note also that Bristol has just been named European city of sport for 2017.


    I know some people are trying to make it into a Cameron's big society vs Cameron's austerity type thing, but it really just comes down to the parish council don't want a load of people running in the park on a Saturday morning and after several failed attempts to stop it have found something that works. parkrun should just close this event and work with the district council to find alternative venues.


    Just read a nice piece on the UK athletics website - about the work the national trust has been doing with parkrun - apparently 24 NT properties have one, with more on the way.

  12. He'll get a gong, don't worry.


    He got his CBE a couple of years back.  I've helped at Scouts and a couple of other charities years, all of whom would kill to get the number of volunteer hours that parkrun racks up each week.


    If the government had spent 0.1% of what was spent on the Olympics on parkrun, our public health would be in a better state and we wouldn't need to be having discussions about who pays to mend asphalt footpaths in parks (where I suspect 99% of damage is due to weathering rather than people & dogs, in any case.)

  13. I suspect they thought that Parkrun might get off its harris and agree to some kind of payment that could come from their central funds or a voluntary contribution (as at other Parkruns) by participants.



    You appear to be operating under the assumption that the parish council wants to find a way for the parkrun to continue. The current fuss over charging people to use the park follows on from previous unilateral attempts to stop the parkrun over insurance and then child safeguarding (there is a 2km junior event for under-14s on Sunday mornings).

  14. The sponsors want nothing - and you should ignore parkrun's paid employees and deliberately lo-fi website and its direct ask for public 'donations' (despite being a private company, not a charity).


    To be accurate, it's a "not-for-profit" company, limited by membership, rather than with shareholders. Paul Sinton-Hewitt who set the whole thing up could have been rather rich I suspect, rather than just having a CBE to polish if he'd been interested in money. Very different from events like London Marathon, Great North Run etc. which make large sums for those behind them. 

  15. The council offered various alternatives - up to and including supporting a grant application to meet the cost of park maintenance that they themselves couldn't directly apply for - and Parkrun rejected them all and offered instead only a vague idea of maybe some volunteers might maybe do some tidying up possibly.


    The parish council has changed its story at least half a dozen times over the past 6-9 months, the misinformation about the grant application being one example. I don't understand why they can't just be blunt and say that they don't want 300 people running round their park on Saturday morning instead of this moving target of spurious requests. I think the district council (who put up most of the initial money for the event) could have been a bit more proactive in sorting it out. The district council (who own the land and lease it to the parish, I believe) has a policy of not charging for parking. Can't really see any option but to stop the parkrun and for the volunteers to look for another venue.


    The country park that we run in was sold by the council to a charity for £1 a few years back and so has to entirely fund itself. The largest source of income is now car parking fees paid by parkrunners, which have helped fund quite a few improvements. The park cafe also gets most of its takings from parkrun runners, but is contracted out by the charity, so doesn't directly fund the park.

  16. FWIW, tim2, my parkrun PB was off the back of marathon training and was set 6 days after half-marathon PB. Running 40+ slow miles per week for a couple of months seemingly does more for my parkrun pace than any amount of intervals etc.


    Henage, generally reckoned that all else being equal, losing 1kg is worth about 15s on a parkrun for someone at ~22min pace.

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