23 May

Pace & lactate, man!

shot of a Festival camp site

Are summer festivals set to be the new big thing in running? At first, it seems an unlikely blend. Can you really bring together the raucous debauchery of the archetypal British music festival with health and exercise? Gin and isotonic anyone? Perhaps not.

Or perhaps yes? Is there a happy medium to be struck? After all, many runners I know (your correspondent included) like nothing more than letting their hair down after a particularly challenging race - almost everyone in those hours post-marathon.

The arrival this summer of Chris Evans’ new RunFestRun in Wiltshire shows there is the appetite to organise large scale festivals with a running theme. With names like Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram and Colin Jackson and the carrot-topped DJ all aligned with the event which has Razorlight, Olly Murs and Reef on the bill, it has the star power. But will it be a crowd puller?

The Love Trails Festival in South Wales has set down a blueprint for a successful music and running festival. The event will take place for the third time this July in the Gower Peninsula and seems to strike the right chord with runners.

Until now, running festivals have been largely been pulled together by running clubs or small event organisers with running front, centre, left and right. The Isle of Man Easter Running Festival is probably the foremost event of its type and with over 50 years of history has a heritage and a hardcore of supporters to draw upon. Many others have fallen by the wayside.

But this year will see the Something Wild Festival in Devon, the Salomon Trail Running Festivals spread over the Peak District, Edinburgh and Box Hill, the Isle of Wight Running Festival, the Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival in Powys and the Fort William Trail Running Festival. So perhaps there is a revival of some sort?

Maybe the great British public will get behind the new trend of running festivals? Don’t expect there to be much talk of “peace and love” though...more likely “pace and lactate”.