RunFestRun 2021, proudly sponsored by Volvo, took place alongside Chris Evans’ CarFest. Situated at Laverstoke Park Farm on 27-29th August, for a little festival it had a lot to pack in. Including meeting some big names in running circles before swapping running shoes for dancing shoes – to music from the likes of Rick Astley, James Blunt, McFly and All Saints!
I was invited along with my plus one as press.
About RunFestRun 2021
Running has played such an important part in keeping spirits up through a difficult year so RunFestRun 2021 was a great way to welcome back a bit of normality. Back to being with other people (with similar interests), to races and to having fun!
Celebrities at RunFestRun 2021
Obviously Chris & Tash Evans were at RunFestRun (and CarFest) but we also had: Vassos Alexander, Sally Gunnell OBE (Olympic Gold Medallist), Paula Radcliffe (16 years of being the world’s fastest female marathoner), Colin Jackson (multiple Gold Medalist), Steve Cram CBE (broke 3 world records within 19 days), Chris Thompson (Olympian), Jo Pavey (five time Olympian), Gloucestershire’s Anna McNuff (adventurer and new mum) and partner Jamie McDonald (aka Adventure Man), David Hellard (ultra runner), Huw Jack Brassington (broadcaster), Lisa Jackson (runner and author) and Shakira Akabusi (pre & post-natal health expert). I do hope I haven’t left anyone out as there were just SO many!
The best thing about the celebrities at RunFestRun 2021 is that they were present! By that I mean I had press access to the VIP area but only used it once for the organised brunch. There just really wasn’t any need to visit as the celebrities were just out mingling with festival goers. Just sharing their passion for running!
No questions were off-limits and you could ask them either in front of an audience or privately! Big thank you to Sally Gunell OBE for listening to me waffle on about my hip pain and cold water swimming. To Paula Radcliffe for signing my Winston’s Wish Vest top that I wore for my first marathon (well second if you don’t count the one where I walked a marathon) – and generally being a fantastic team captain!
Who is RunFestRun For?
RunFestRun 2021 was perfect for anyone with an interest in running or being active, including those who aren’t running!
Families at RunFestRun 2021
It felt it was great especially for families. What better way to encourage a love of running in children than to be able to run alongside such great names as Colin Jackson and Paula Radcliffe (to name a couple).
We did not bring our children but as well as the races and talks we did see that there was a crèche (with charge), a small amount of fairground rides, small sand pit, colouring in at Volvo, Families on Track events, the family fun run and a Marathon Kids Arena. Of course after 5:30pm we could go over to Carfest where there was a lot more for them.
About Marathon Kids
Marathon Kids was the charity partner who inspire the next generation to become physically active. What better way than with running celebrities right! They believe that running has the power to show kids that they can achieve more than they ever dreamed possible. You know this was definitely the feeling I had when I finally ran my first 5K.
It was a great way to get back into races again but there was also so much more on offer! For those not running, due to injury or other reasons, there was still plenty to do whether it be learning a new skill, shopping or just to meet inspirational and motivational running celebrities in the flesh! Also there was entertainment provided such as DJ sets, Dick and Dom, film night and carnival vibes!
The exhibitors present were so amazing that I have decided to put about them in their own post! But let’s say they were great for replacing things or discovering new running related products. They also included stalls with fabulous street food and drink.
Nuzest Get Active Stage
The Nuzest Get Active Stage hosted a wide range of fitness programming on the including yoga, hula or how to stretch. Plus it held talks/question and answers from some of the running celebrities!
Races at RunFestRun 2021
Festival goers were able to run incredible routes around the stunning venue (designed by Steve Cram CBE) all included in the price of the ticket! Races included a Sunset Shuffle, a 5K, 10K, family fun run, club relays and even a half marathon!
These were chip-timed utilising your bib (which were reused for every race). Each runner is also gained points per race (1 per km) for their team. These were randomly assigned either a Ladybird (Natasha Evans), Butterfly (Paula Radcliffe), Bumblebee (Steve Cram CBE) or Dragonfly (Colin Jackson).
Honestly I didn’t run more than 5K due to injury but it wasn’t the easiest of courses. Definitely great to have a bit of a challenge – but not too much that anyone would be excluded.
Finishers were provided with medals, drinks and a bag of Westlab reviving Epsom bath salts.
You could go for the day or for the whole weekend. With options with or without camping. The camping was good with lighting along the paths which made it good to find your way around but didn’t shine through the tent!
We only came on the Saturday and found it really easy to find a place to pitch our tent. It was also fairly close to the toilets too! It is worth noting that drinking water was provided but we didn’t realise that this would be the case so hadn’t brought with us our reusable bottles.
Although there was evening entertainment provided at RunFestRun it wasn’t too loud and disturbing back at the tents. We had gone back early because of how much pain I was in though and could hear the music from Carfest back at our tent (as you would expect from a festival).
RunFestRun 2021 alongside Carfest
As I say this year RunFestRun was alongside Carfest. For me this was ideal as it meant that RunFestRun primarily focused on the running and fitness. It also meant it was smaller and quieter. Especially important when trying to sleep but also it meant that the toilets were cleaner and the queues were shorter.
Then it really was a short walk over the bridge to CarFest, which was much bigger, busier and noisier if people still had the energy to party! Over there the queues were massive – we queued for a whole set for our milkshakes!
Conclusion of RunFestRun 2021
I feel that RunFestRun 2021 was perfect for those interested in running. That includes all ages, abilities and whether or not they were actually running at the time or not. However, there wasn’t that much else available if running was of little or no interest to you! I guess that the point of RunFestRun IS the running.
But if we would have brought our children I do not think they would not have been happy. There wouldn’t have been anything else to encourage them to run the odd race because they could do it afterwards.
Yes you could go over to Carfest in the evening but that would not have kept them from being bored whilst we enjoyed RunFestRun. Also I felt that Carfest was too crowded for me and very badly organised. For example I asked at the information tent as to where I may find Adam Woodyatt and they didn’t even know who he was!
Saying that it did feel that RunFestRun 2021 was put together by a non-runner and I found it difficult to fit in the things I wanted to do. For example, as I am injured I wouldn’t have entered the half marathon. However, if I had then there’s no way I would have finished in time to hear Paula Radcliffe speaking. I am assuming most distance runners would have wanted to be present for that.
I am very much looking forward to returning to RunFestRun and hope that they keep it in the small, more affordable, format. However, it would be nice if my children could get excited about running more but it would need more on offer that the present set-up.