The best festivals for runners
Runners do love talking about running, so what could be better than festivals devoted to the sport? But before you imagine seminars and dry discussions, think again. These are events designed around, or perfectly compatible with, running. Yes, they may include races and running-themed events, but there's also top-notch food, drink, great music and stunning scenery on offer.
Pub in the Park
When: From 12th-14th May, weekends through to 8th-10th September
Where: London (various), Bath, Reigate, Leamington Spa, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, St Albans
What: Looking for the perfect post-race celebration, or to combine a morning race with a festival? Then Pub in the Park is the perfect, one day/night only, local festival for you. It's a relaxed, friendly event that tours parks or venues (so can be easily combined with a local parkrun) and offers top-end food and drink and live music. The idea is to bring top restaurateurs (think Tom Kerridge, Simon Rimmer) and top restaurants to serve up delicious grub while you relax in the great outdoors listening to tunes from an excellent array of bands and DJs. A run plus great grub? It's the perfect summer day (and night).
How much: Tickets start at £47. Family tickets are £104.20 (two adults, two children)
Night of the 10K PBs
When: 20th May 2023
Where: Parliament Hill Athletics Track, London
What: OK technically it's a 'sporting event' rather than a festival, but if you've ever had the pleasure of an afternoon/evening spent watching top club runners and amazing elites take on 25 laps of the track, you'll know the atmosphere is indeed much more akin to a festival, complete with fire eaters and pyrotechnics. Bring a picnic, settle in and enjoy the spectacle at running's one-night Glastonbury.
How much: Completely free – the best money you can spend in running
Love Trails festival
When: 6th-9th July 2023
Where: Gower Peninsula, South Wales
What: The UK's premier (and indeed the world's first) trails festival, Love Trails festival is a celebration of all things trail. Runners can take in the Gower’s dramatic coastlines, beaches and trails during a range of non-competitive runs, ranging from 3km to 55km. There's also coasteering, surfing, wild swimming, rock climbing and sea kayaking on offer, along with wood-fired hot tubs and as much yoga as your unflexible runner's body can handle.
Tickets include four nights of camping, along with a guided trail run and a marked course trail run, as well as film screenings, workshops, yoga, talks and music. Adventure activities like sea kayaking and coasteering aren’t included but can be purchased as an add-on.
How much: Tickets start at £189 per person + plus booking fee
Bedford Running festival
When: 2nd - 3rd September 2023
What: 5k, 10k, half and a 20 mile races may form the backbone of the Bedford RunFest but there's much more besides - street food, bars, DJ sets in the evening, an open air cinema included and a fun fair for the kids as well. It's a great way to combine a race with a day out with friends or family, and enjoy the treats that a well-earned PB has hopefully bought you. The Bedford RunFest is one of the new breed of what you might call "races plus" or "run festival lite". No need to plan in advance either, aside from race entry - you can wait and see what the weather holds.
How much: You just enter the races (from £17) as per normal - all the other activities and events are just around the event village.
Atjan Wild Islands festival
When: 6th - 1oth September 2023
Where: Faroe Islands
What: If you are looking to combine your love of a good trail with a bucket list holiday, then the five-day Atjan Wild Island festival should be on your list. Taking place in the remote, windswept and stunning Faroe Islands, you'll take on routes on the Atlantic, where the weather changes from sunshine to storm in seconds and the views are jaw-droppingly special. The Faroe Islands really are very unique.
The festival includes races – from 10K to ultra distance – on stunning well-marked trails. But you can also just relax with film nights, pub crawl runs, live music and tickets include a hot tub pass to ease any tired muscles.
How much: Tickets start at £109 per person plus booking fee
Something Wild trail running festival
When: 8- 10th September 2023
What: A small scale, family friendly festival that gives the opportunity to explore some of the beautiful routes of the South West Coast path, with distances all the way through from 5K to ultra, and even some swim/runs. There are kids races, but parents worried about entertaining the little ones, note there is also the great option of an on-site forest school that they can get muddy in while you take part in an event. There's also music, speakers, locally sourced food, a film night, outdoor yoga and more.
How much: Festival tickets from £30, race entries from £17, forest school £7/session
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