Love Trails Festival 2019

“Running in a nice place is much better than other sorts of running”. London City AC members review the Love Trails Festival on the Gower Peninsula, Wales.

Compiled from reports by Jamie Barber, Andrew Farrell, Heather Haggis, Jane Maciver and Nick Sutcliffe.

If you can imagine a small friendly festival, in a great location, with great eats and running. Yes running!  So people go to festival and run, right?  Well not until a few year ago.

As Andrew Farrell explains, Theo Larn-Jones and George Restall created Love Trails when they took a small group of friends to Snowdon in 2016.  Folk like to run trails and combining it with music, talks and other inspirational and creative stuff just makes sense.

As the name suggests, Love Trails is trail dominated and the attendees range from novice trail runners through to seasoned mountain champions and this year London City AC were lucky enough to attend as running leaders.

So what do you do at a trail running festival? The slightly puzzled response Nick Sutcliffe received when people heard of his weekend plans. Well you run of course, you can run as much or as little as you want; from 3k to 55k, up and down hills, scrambling over cliffs or on the moors with the wild horses. Run to surf, run to wild swim, run to coasteering and run to paragliding. Run to the pub, run to wine tasting and run to banquet. Who would have though running would pair so well with so many things?

Jane Maciver didn’t know what to expect when she signed up to Love Trails, but was not disappointed. Still injured and slightly apprehensive about running, Jane managed up to 7k and took part in a 5k ‘Guided Trail Run’ delighted to find out only the day before that London City AC’s Heather and Nick were the guides! “They were expertly enthusiastic, guiding our rather slow group over the toughest (yet beautiful) 5k terrain I’ve ever run.“

All that exertion making you thirsty? There’s beer, wine and gin; coffee, juices and plenty of water too. And music – lots of it.

The music was impressive, the collection of bands and DJ’s made for an epic night of dancing and raving in the Welsh National Park, partying to the backdrop of the magnificent Woebley Castle, keeping warm by the campfires and listening to comedy under the canopy of the stars.

There are talks too; from the man who swam around Britain, to the researcher studying the effects of micro-dosing LSD on running performance. Who knew?

Around Britain swimmer, Ross Edgley, – ‘naive enough to start, stubborn enough to finish’ – clearly struck a chord with Jamie Barber. Although as positive as this very positive man was, his account of bits of his tongue falling off and repeated jelly fish stings did make Jamie think that perhaps stubbornness should be put aside from time to time although he admits that his personal experience of breaking up a 10 mile run with a bit of wild swimming and cliff jumping makes him think perhaps there is a place for being in the water after all.

Talk takeaways for Heather Haggis included improved running techniques from James Holt and new-found confidence in her ability to complete a multi-stage event, thanks to Matt Buck’s inspiring talk on multi-stage ultras.

There’s so much going on but it’s the people, the atmosphere and beautiful location that make Love Trails one of the running highlights of the year.It is the festival to go with your mates or alone because everyone is so friendly. The whole weekend has a great feel good vibe and it’ll leave you on a high, and with great memories for weeks.

Early bird tickets are out for next year. GO!