The running community showed up in force to take part in the second RunfestRun.
RunFestRun took place on 27 – 29 August 2021. It had a fantastic series of runs designed by the legendary Steve Cram CBE, through the grounds of Laverstoke Park Farm. Running heroes Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram CBE, Colin Jackson and Natasha Evans returned for a second year as team captains for the three day running extravaganza.
Runners were joined by an enthusiastic Chris Evans and his Golfer turned Marathon running wife Natasha Evans who clapped and cheered as runners stormed across the finish line. Naturally, Natasha pipped her husband to the finish line during the 10k on Saturday morning, and danced across the finish line as a determined Chris tailed her!
This year, runners were spoilt for choice with both competitive and fun runs. Paula Radcliffe kick-started the festivities with the launch of her ‘Families on Track’relay event which ran across the entire weekend. Friday evening provided the perfect balmy backdrop for the 3km Sunset Shuffle. On Saturday, competitive runners took part in the 5km and 10km. The traditional Sunday morning half-marathon brought the competitive races to an end before the start of the fun runs.
When not running, visitors enjoyed inspiring talks from running heroes Paula, Colin and Steve as well as family activities, shopping and delicious street food. The fun didn’t stop there, as a whole host of incredible names joined the line up on the Nuzest Get Active Stage. Familiar names that joined Paula, Steve and Colin included Chris Thompson (Olympian), Sally Gunnell (Olympic Gold Medallist), Jo Pavey (five time Olympian), Anna McNuff (adventurer and new mum), David Hellard (ultra runner), Jamie McDonald (aka Adventure Man), Huw Jack Brassington (broadcaster), Lisa Jackson (runner and author) and Shakira Akabusi (pre & post-natal health expert).
At night, festival goers partied the night away at the silent disco and enjoyed live music from the likes of Owen Paul, Dick and Dom who went head to head on the decks, DJ Aston, Candi’s Dog and the Dryers.
RunfestRun also introduced a brand new element for 2021 – the Solo Runners Club, which catered exclusively for the solo or single runner. Sixty solo runners were treated to their own designated camping site where they played ice breaker games.
Marketing Lead Megan Johnstone-Mackie said: “After what has been such a challenging 18 months, with so many being isolated and living alone, we wanted to create a group that made people feel welcomed, looked after and part of the incredible RunfestRun family. We had members from all walks of life, ages and running skill level. Togetherness flourished and wonderful connections and friendships were made.”
Solo Camper Fiona Moore from Norfolk said: “Two years ago my life was destroyed, but RunfestRun has helped my recovery. This is my first ever festival and I’ve made memories, friends and even met my heroes! I say to people – put down those screens and enjoy the screams. Lose the stress lines and make laughter lines. Go as a singleton or with friends – because by the end, we all leave as one big family!”
RunFestRun Technical Director and former British Athlete Steve Cram CBE said: “The last year has seen a huge surge in people taking up running as a way of exercising and escaping the challenges of lockdown. Running apps such as Strava and Couch to 5k have experienced a phenomenal increase in activity. Running can be a very social experience with running clubs and annual races normally taking place all over the country. But in the last 12 months, running has been more of a solitary sport for most people. RunFestRun was able to bring runners back together safely after lockdown and offered a unique opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the sport they all love.”