Over the weekend of 31st May to 2nd June 2019 I took part in Run Fest Run. In its inaugural year I made a family holiday of this event that seemed like it would be fun for the whole family. With Camping, Music, Running and lots to do we were all excited to come to Bowood House for Runfestrun, and we weren’t disappointed.
Having never been camping with the family, and not owning any camping equipment, I was undecided whether we could go. I had been asked months ago to go to the launch event, and later asked to pace, but I couldn’t commit. Also, having done at least one event every weekend since Limassol Marathon 24th March, I thought I was pushing my luck extending the Spring Season. When we looked into what Run Fest Run was all about, and the fact that Razorlight were playing, we wanted to make it work. Vintents offered luxury glamping, and this tipped the balance to confirm our weekend attendance.
On Friday there was a Sunset Shuffle, but we didn’t arrive until about 18:00 hours, and decided to just get ourselves sorted and listen to music. We went to Registration for the event bibs where we were allocated “Dragonflies”. Out of the whole weekend I would say this is the one area that has room for improvement. The queues were unnecessarily long, and they didn’t have kids size tshirts. What’s annoying is they had it printed on race envelopes, but I was told to come back tomorrow. I did, and was told to come back tomorrow (again). So on Sunday when I went back I was not surprised when they said they didn’t have them.
We managed to set up a picnic blanket and chairs with a great spot for the entertainment. It was a fantastic atmosphere which was much more relaxed than the festival’s I’ve been to before. There were lots of food and drink tents, and I found some lovely beer and cider. There were issues with wifi on day one so I had to borrow some cash, this was resolved on day two and there were cashback options available. In future I will go prepared with more cash.
Razorlight were the highlight on the first night, and were absolutely amazing. Kirsty and I both love Razorlight and it was amazing to share this with our kids, and in a much more friendly atmosphere and environment than previous gigs we have been to.
We had a lovely, comfortable camping experience, and woke up on day 2 ready for a day full of running.
There were plenty of running options available: half marathon, 5k, 2.5k, 10k, 3k and a team relay. I had planned to take part in all the runs, except for the team relay, but changed my mind throughout the day.
The main event started at 09:00 with the half marathon. It was great to be able to walk to the start and leave my family to meet me later so they didn’t need to rush in. I had told Paul I would run with him, and he was after 1:40. It made a change from pacing, but I was going to be Paul’s personal pacer. We caught up with Paula before the start, and after hearing that it was going to be hilly Paul said let’s aim for 1:45.
The start was tight and congested, but this didn’t last long. We start on a hill, and this was a theme of the run. With a mixture of trail, grass, gravel and tarmac it was a difficult run. It was a very hot day, with a very undulating course. It would be a trail runners dream, and a very difficult half marathon for anyone, in fact I think the most difficult half I have ever ran.
The course was beautiful, the few marshals were friendly and it was a great vibe. I was glad to be running with Paul, if I had ran on my own it would have been a hard slog. Paul did fantastic on the first 5k, but the second loop was tough and he was slower on the hills. I eased off the pace but we finished at half was just on target for the 1:45 finish. The final 11k loop made the rest of the course feel flat, and we made the decision to slow down up the hills.
My legs were feeling tired from Liverpool Marathon only 6 days earlier, and I was happy running with Paul. A lovely run, just much more of a challenge than I thought it would be.
We finished just outside 1:50, in 1:50:33, which left me with 40 minutes before the 5k. We had always planned for Kirsty to do the 5k, but I asked the kids if they wanted me to push them in the pushchair so they could take part.
The 5k route is tough, there were a few people pushing children, but my pushchair is definitely not designed for running. Two of them in it made it hard work. It was funny, everyone who passed us going up the hill said “two” when they looked in. It was hard to run at times as I couldn’t get around people and I was being careful not to trip anyone. Benjamin was also constantly moaning that he wanted to run. I reminded them that this was a bonus run and they would be running the 2.5k. In the end I compromised with them, and let them run the last half a km.
A very tough 5k as a trio in 42:28, but I think we just beat Kirsty. At this point we had an hour before the 2.5k, so we went back for hot dogs at our tent.
The plan was originally for us all to go on the 2.5k together and hopefully for me to be back for the 10k. When it got to the 2.5k Amelie had lost patience and would not come for the run. This was a shame as she had been looking forward to the run. I think it would be better if they held the 2.5k earlier as a way of engaging the younger kids, it was just a long day and everyone was getting tired.
Benjamin and I ran the 2.5k and he ran the whole way. It was very tough for him with all the hills but he managed to finish with a smile.
On the final section we stopped for a nice photo. It did however take longer than I thought, so we were going to miss the 10k start. At this point I ruled it out, so I was surprised later to see they had postponed the 10k. I think this is because the 2.5k took longer, so it was nice that they delayed the start.
My family were starting to get tired and fed up, so I decided to call it a day on the running. It would not have been fair for me to go out and carry on running and leave Kirsty to deal with the kids on her own.
Instead we decided to enjoy some of the kids activities, including the helter skelter, carousel and family did more earlier when I was running. It added up, but you always expect these things to be expensive.
Volvo had a tent with bugs and activities for the kids, free face painting, and a transition challenge.
I was pleased to make the leaderboard, despite running 3 events beforehand. Next time I will need a go when fresh as should definitely be able to take 5 – 10 seconds off my time.
After a day of fun activities and running we set up for some fish and chips, drinking and entertainment. I could have went to do the 3k run. Frankly I was tired, wearing my oofos, and it was nice to be out of my running kit. The 3k was on the road, so I would have wanted to run hard and I didn’t think it was sensible on tired legs.
The kids had lots of fun, but we ended up with an early night. I managed to enjoy a few ciders, but there was no way we could stay up for Olly Murs. It didn’t bother us as the main act we wanted to see was Razorlight, and we could hear the music in our tent anyway.
We were representing Team Dragonfly on the final day, and enjoyed the event village for one last time before we went home.
There was a final team run to end the day, but everyone was so tired so we took the opportunity for a quick getaway.
We had an absolutely fantastic time and we are so pleased we decided to come for the first ever Runfestrun. There were a couple of areas that could have been improved, but these were so minor and did not detract from a lovely family weekend. I would definitely be up for returning next year.