You cannot help but notice the explosion of UK music festivals in the last ten years. The sight of welly-booted and well-refreshed young people looking muddy, but merry is a familiar sight of the British summertime. Glastonbury, Reading and Isle of Wight have set the blueprint which has been copied by other major event organisers and also by smaller scale themed affairs in towns throughout Britain. It is only relatively recently that sport has got in on the act. To some degree it has been successful, rugby and some extreme sports lend themselves well to the festival atmosphere.
Rugby is a particularly sociable sport; singing and drinking are a big part of its social scene. So it’s little wonder that events like the Bournemouth Sevens are a big hit, bringing together like-minded people to play fun rugby, netball and dodgeball tournaments against a backdrop of music and revelry. Equally the NASS Action Sports and Music Festival brings together people who not only love BMX, skateboarding and in-line skating but the urban music that accompanies it. It’s like a cult gathering - except it’s popular!
Running enjoys more of a mixed relationship with music. Thousands of runners couldn’t go without their MP3 player to accompany them on a run. Yet it is frowned upon at running clubs or at many events to run with earphones in. Similarly, music-themed races have had a mixed response from the public. In London, Run to the Beat has taken place around Greenwich annually for seven years and has been fairly successful. But organisers behind this year’s Edinburgh Rock n Roll Half Marathon were forced to pull the plug following a lack of interest.
So, it should interesting to see be how the Richmond Running Festival fares this summer in south west London. If any running-themed festival is to work out, then this one could be it.
Both the half marathon and 10k events begin in the world-famous Kew Gardens – the only running event to do so. This will them be followed by the opportunity to sample local food and beer whilst enjoying live music in fantastic surroundings. It takes place on 21 September. To find out more, visit the event website.