DORSET councils have backed the county’s popular parkrun events and confirmed they have no plans to charge any fees for the use of their parks.

Participants of the free weekly runs, which take place at Poole Park, Bournemouth’s Kings Park, Moors Valley Country Park and Blandford, had feared the worse after a Gloucestershire council voted to charge for the use of its grounds earlier this week.

That decision prompted widespread anger from the running community, particularly as the ethos of parkrun is for the event to be free and open to everyone.

Parkrun’s chief operating officer Tom Williams said the decision “threatened” the future of the Gloucestershire event.

He added: “As a nation we must make a decision about whether we want to be healthier or not. The costs to all of us of inactivity and poor health are immense.”

However, Dorset County Council sports and physical activities manager David Franks told the Echo: “We are not aware of any plans in Dorset to start charging participants to entre any parkruns. On the contrary, we want to encourage more people to take part in these free events.”

Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole have also confirmed they have no plans to charge for the runs and that they fully support the weekly meetings.

More than 400 people take part in Poole’s parkrun event every Saturday, while the Bournemouth event attracts more than 250 runners on average each week.

Mr Franks said: “Each run is 5km, is timed and takes place in safe, pleasant parkland surroundings.

“The runs in Dorset usually attract between 200 and 400 people of all ages and at various levels of fitness and ability.

“It is a great way to challenge yourself, meet new people and even inspire the next generation of runners with junior parkruns.”

Visit for details of how you can get involved.