Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Cash-strapped council wants to levy charge on popular parkrun

Posted on Friday 20th November 2015 at 8:54 pm by SH (Editor)

Little Stoke Parkrun trial event on 22nd August 2012.

The future of a hugely popular, free weekly running event held in a Little Stoke Park for the past three years could be under threat after the local council said it planned to levy a charge of £1 per runner to cover ongoing maintenance costs of the park.

One of hundreds of similar events that take place around the country at 9am every Saturday morning, Little Stoke parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5k run that is open to everyone and designed to be safe and easy to take part in.

The Little Stoke event began in November 2012, with support from South Gloucestershire Council, and has seen its number of participants grow from fewer than a hundred per week during its first six months to an average of 243 per week in October 2015.

The increasing numbers have put a strain on car parking at the Little Stoke Lane venue, which the organisers have attempted to solve by encouraging runners to walk, jog or cycle to the venue. Additional car parking has been made available at Little Stoke Baptist Church and car sharing is encouraged.

The event is organised on an entirely voluntary basis, with a core team of helpers supplemented by participants who, from time to time, “give up” their run in order to help.

After a unanimous decision to levy a charge was made by Stoke Gifford Parish Council’s Finance Committee on 8th September, representatives of parkrun were invited to attend a meeting of Full Council on 13th October, where the matter was thrown open for debate.

Chair of council Ernie Brown told the meeting that the park had significant running costs, including maintenance of the car park and perimeter path (both of these are used by parkrun participants), and, in these times of austerity, needed to be “run as a business”, adding “nothing is free in this day and age”.

More: Event has "positive personal and community impacts" »

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The magic of junior parkrun

Posted on Friday 17th July 2015 at 10:20 pm by Ian Shepherd

Start of the first anniversary Little Stoke junior parkrun.

Popular weekly event in Little Stoke Park celebrates first anniversary.

Sunday used to be my one day of the week to have a lie-in, until just over a year ago, when I took on the role of Event Director of the brand new Little Stoke junior parkrun. As an enthusiastic runner and big fan of parkrun (the more established, free, weekly timed 5km run for all ages), I was very excited to be involved in the Bristol debut of the newer junior events for four- to fourteen-year-olds, which was ostensibly about getting children interested in running, but turned out to be so much more.

The process is simple enough: having signed up for free on the parkrun website and printed their personal barcode, runners turn up at Little Stoke Park shortly before 9am on Sunday, listen to the run briefing, take part in a short, fun warm-up routine, run a lap and a bit of the park, then have their barcode and finish token scanned so that the results can be processed and published later. Colourful wristbands are awarded for completing 11, 21 and 50 events, representing the distances of half-marathon, marathon and ultra marathon.

A run, not a race

It’s what happens around all this that makes it magical. A buzz builds as families start to arrive, just as the volunteer team is making the finishing touches to the course. Friendships are renewed and new ones made; some have even come along just for this social side and don’t actually plan to run at all!

Runners have loads of fun either flying round as fast as they can to beat their best time, or just sauntering, picking daisies or playing as they go. Parents are amazed and proud week after week at how far their children can run, or how fast they complete the course, or how they go back to cheer on their friends as they approach the finish line. Some parents run with their children, and are often surprised to find themselves enjoying running, so much so they might even take it up themselves. This is the magic of parkrun – a run, not a race, which is accessible (in all senses of the word) to all, regardless of ability.

More: Each event requires the support of 20 volunteers »

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Bittersweet success for Stoke Gifford United

Posted on Wednesday 17th June 2015 at 9:04 pm by Garry Ford

Stoke Gifford United FC.

Garry Ford reflects on Stoke Gifford United’s bittersweet league title win.

So, like it was written in the stars, the Bristol and Suburban Premier League title was decided in the last game in a match at Mangotsfield. This fixture earlier in the season had seen a freak accident on the field of play that led to the tragic death of Stoke Gifford forward Ben Hiscox.

On Friday 8th May, the two clubs came together again in this title deciding fixture.

Mangotsfield Sports started the brighter and played some neat football, and their more controlled approach was rewarded when they took the lead mid way through the first-half.

Stoke Gifford, needing a draw to secure the title, found it hard to create opportunities and were to head in at the break trailing 1-0. After the interval, Gifford upped their game , whether it was the appearance of Ben’s dad, Clive, or what manager Martin black had to say, Mangotsfield were pushed back and were desperately trying to repel the Gifford momentum.

This pressure finally told when the flying winger was upended in the box and the resulting penalty was stuck away to make it 1-1, a scoreline that was sufficient for Stoke Gifford to lift the title.

Mangotsfield, who needed all three points, woke up from their earlier slumber and went in search of the goal that would bring the title to Corsham Street. There was some desperate defending – Dan Dunt was cautioned when he could have walked for a late challenge to thwart a Mangotsfield raid. As the corner count increased in Mangotsfield’s favour, the tension rose.

A father who tragically lost his son looked on, and seemed like he was willing the ball to stay out. Ben’s wish had been to win the league and, as the final whistle sounded, he wasn’t there to witness it, but his dad joined his team mates on the pitch to celebrate.

Sometimes, sport goes beyond being just a physical activity and it helps bring a community together.  If Ben’s family has found some comfort in Stoke Gifford clinching the title, that’s got to be a good thing. Let’s hope that Ben was looking down and smiling.

More: Colourful farewell for footballer Ben Hiscox »

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Abbeywood hosts basketball tournament for local primary teams

Posted on Saturday 7th March 2015 at 4:49 pm by SH (Editor)

Primary school basketball tournament at Abbeywood Community School, Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Seb Doyle, Primary Liaison Officer at Abbeywood School writes:

On Tuesday 24th February, Year 5 teams from Charborough Road, Filton Hill and St Michael’s Primary Schools took part in a basketball tournament at Abbeywood Community School in Stoke Gifford.

The event capped off two term’s worth of basketball coaching which had been delivered by Mr Doyle in each primary school. The level of skill on show throughout all three primaries was unbelievable, especially considering some of the pupils were only introduced to the sport a few months ago.

There were some really close games with each school winning matches. The winner of the whole tournament was Charborough Road, who ended up with an incredible 132 points scored throughout the games.

The prize was a free ticket for all the team members and a number of staff and parents to attend a Bristol Flyers game. We all had fun watching the Flyers beat Leeds Force comfortably and the pupils even got to go on court at half-time to have a shoot out. Well done to all the three primaries for taking part!

Pupils from Charborough Road Primary School, Filton at a Bristol Flyers basketball match.

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