Picture the end of a usual festival. You’d normally expect to be crawling out of the festival grounds with a ten-day hangover, beer-soaked tent and two or three extra kilograms in weight added to your gut after four days of partying, drinking and falling into the dark hole that is now commonly known as ‘the sesh’.
However, this isn’t your usual kind of festival. As we departed Love Trails 2019, we left feeling refreshed and surprisingly fitter with 60km of running pounding our legs as we clambered up the steps of the coach on our way back to London and the working week.
“So that Gower Peninsula. Yeah, it’s stunning”
Similar to the recent surge in ski festivals, where a mixture of skiing, booze and music is somehow blended together, Love Trails calls itself “a music, running, adventure and wellbeing festival, located in the stunning Gower Peninsula” – that description is pretty much spot on.
Take 2,000 runners, stick them in a field together and tell them they they can do all the running their heart desires. Along with events for when they’re not running, including; talks from some pretty badass runners, yoga sessions and partying till the early hours (incase their legs hadn’t been worked enough).
So that Gower Peninsula. Yeah, it’s stunning. Outdoors Magic editor and proud Welshman Will Renwick sits next to me in the office here and is always chirping on about Wales and how it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the world – the man will give literally anything for a free weekend away hillwalking in his home country.
Until Love Trails, I was happily ignoring his excitement about Wales but now I totally get it. The Gower Peninsula sits next to Swansea and juts out into the Bristol Channel and, like we’ve touched upon already, is a beautiful place. Such a beautiful place in fact that it was the first area in the UK to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (sorry Will, I should have listened to you sooner).
We weren’t quite sure what was to be expected when we turned up to Love Trails. A Friday evening bus from London led to the inevitable gridlock as we joined the hordes looking to escape the city for the weekend. Six hours later, we found ourselves in the Gower Peninsula, in the dark, and still not too much idea of what to expect from the fest. We had a quick pint, set up camp and hit the hay at 02:00.
We stumbled out of bed at 08:30 and got ready for whatever run we fancied, leaving at 09:00. We (stupidly) skipped breakfast, stuffed a few energy bars into our pockets and signed ourselves up for a 30k ‘Run To Conservation’ with the good people of GoodGym.