Zooming down a hillside on a make-shift, slippery plastic slide was the absolute best way to wake up on a Saturday morning at Love Trails Festival 2018.
This was just one of the many fun activities on offer from 13-15 July 2018 at Weobley Castle on the Gower Peninsular, all involving running, walking or some kind of fitness vibe. There were runs to all sorts of fun local activities like sea swimming, surfing, coasteering, rock climbing, plogging and of course, the most popular – a running pub crawl. Plus, there were expertly taught classes on using running/hiking poles, beating injury, yoga, hill climbing, alpine running, best technique, multi-day running, navigation, photography, night running, strength and flexibility.
For relaxation there were tonnes of interesting talks, workshops and a few films. I enjoyed listening to Anna Jackson’s workshop on being more plastic/waste-free and I’m now interested in trying out a Mooncup. I did a talk on Co-founding Trail Running Magazine and a workshop on How to Write a Great Blog. Thanks to all the people who came along, listened and asked some really good questions. If you want any more info about these talks I’m always available for consultancy work, so get in touch.
We also got this ace Love Trails logo-ed goodie bag with some very tasty Tribe bars in, a super delicious Love Corn snack, a pair of clean, white Salomon socks (now very much NOT white) and a programme of exciting events. So before I make my film about the weekend, I’ll take you through my highlights. 🙂
My Love Trails Festival 2018 highlights:
Project Awesome Wake Up session – So where were we? Oh yes, hurtling down a slippery hillside at 8am on a Saturday morning. This was part of Project Awesome, Danny Bent’s mission to get people fitter without realising it – by having a lot of fun! People of all shapes and sizes were throwing themselves down a couple of slippery slopes near the festival site (using eco-friendly washing up liquid obvs) then sprinting back up, in the most amusing form of hill training the world has ever witnessed. This was my favourite activity at Love Trails Festival and I was so inspired that I’ve even just emailed Danny to find out if I can start sessions like this in Stamford where I live. (And moreover, I really want an excuse to slide down a hill on slippery plastic like a kid more often!)
Run to surf – a gorgeous coastal trail along the cliff tops to the huge Rhossili Beach, where we met the Gower Surfing School team for a surf in the surprisingly warm sea. I cannot surf still, and the waves weren’t playing ball, but I had a nice time bobbing around filming my group. I was the leader and my runners were a very nice bunch of friendly folk of quite different running speeds. I could have done with another leader to be a backmarker, but they were all very patient. And they all let me film them a few times for my YouTube video of Love Trails Festival which will be coming soon. Thanks guys!
The Beer Mile – in relay teams of 5 or solo, you must drink a 330ml can of Love Trails IPA beer then sprint 400m around the festival site while the crowds cheer like crazy. Fancy dress is pretty much mandatory, as is a tonne of glitter on your face and beard. Buggies also welcome! But babies and breast-feeding mums don’t have to drink the beer… This was one of the funnest parts of Love Trails Festival and brought everyone together as we cheered on anyone brave/stupid enough to take on the challenge, including the highly charismatic Danny Bent from Project Awesome (see above) who was compere-ing then forced to do a solo round!
The music – I absolutely full on LOVED The Correspondents, who came on before headline act DJ Yoda. They’re a duo, one a DJ and the other a singer/dancer dressed in a white suit with black patterns that made me think of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory when he dressed as the Doppler Effect. Anyways, this guy was CRAZY with a capital everything, throwing some incredible, high energy 90’s shapes on the dance floor. His high knees, sharp elbows, hip thrusts, pirouettes and moonwalks were so fantastic we found ourselves copying his moves (well, trying to). To the point where he even stopped to say, “I’ve never been to a gig where the audience are trying to copy me like I’m an aerobics instructor!” He’d obviously never played to an audience of runners and fitness enthusiasts before! It was absolutely brilliant and I hope they book him again next year! Maybe he can take a workshop beforehand too and show us all the moves!
The people – The atmosphere at Love Trails Festival was super super supportive and friendly. Although it had that cool, Glastonbury vibe of gorgeous people and dressing up in outlandish costumes, everybody was really nice to each other. Smiling, saying hello, boogie-ing like crazy mo fo’s together and not stealing my iPhone when I left it at the front of the stage to dance. Heaps of people were thrilled to be taking to the trails for the first time, and I particularly liked that there were talks like Ian Healy’s on mental health, and that they were really well attended and supported. Ian was bullied at school, felt intimidated by sports people and spent a tonne of energy in his life hiding the fact that he was gay and really unhappy. Then he discovered Project Awesome sessions and eventually built up the confidence to lead them and train to be a PT! The resounding cheers that went up after he shared his journey with the crowd were a testament to the super nice atmosphere that Theo and George have created for Love Trails Festival, and I was really really impressed and happy about this. Well done guys. Heart-warming. The world needs this kind of wholesome fun attitude.
Where can Love Trails go next? Well, I heard that the acoustic sing along session after DJ Yoda was really great, so maybe some Runs to Sing are in order! I’d definitely sign up for that I blomin’ love a good sing song; maybe they could involve Natural Voices.
I was also quite interested in the geography, history and wildlife of the Gower as I’ve never been there before (it’s beautiful), so runs to rock pooling, runs to birdwatch and runs to pirate tales might be cool… What do you think?
Either way, I reckon there’s plenty for everyone at Love Trails Festival, even if you’re not a runner. So although the tickets are pricey, it’s clear to see that an absolute tonne of hard work has gone into creating this from Theo, George, Sarah and team. It’s worth splashing out if you make the most of the sessions, workouts, get involved with the Beer Mile, dance your pants off and make a few new buddies from all the friendly, supportive people that go to this lovely event.
See you there next year?