Last weekend was host to the 2015 New Forest Running Festival. Starting at a base in Linwood they setup a range of runs for most abilities and ambitions.
I hadn’t heard or taken part in any of the races before and was intrigued when a friends that live locally told us about the event. Together we decided to make it a fun weekend away and attend the “Light up the Night” 5K fun run.
Recently trying to get away from running on concrete so much I was delighted with the things the organisers wrote about the terrain on their website:
This is the New Forest – it’s raw, rugged and it’s untouched – it’s truly an area of outstanding beauty. The courses are all on vehicular tracks, road or bridle paths (only on the Half Marathon distances or above). These aren’t flat courses, they are undulating and if the weather turns damp, the challenge increases! In 2012 we had 24 degree heat, in 2013 we registered 0 degrees on the plain with the wind chill, it’s unpredictable, it’s great fun but above all – it’s as nature intended!! [1.]
Arriving pretty much after all other events on Saturday had already finished I can’t say much about the way those races were organised, but the night run was definitely well setup.
Located in a camping park with a pub on site the meeting point and finish line were ideally positioned. There was ample parking, we could wait in the warm and even had time for a half pint before the race started.
After a short prep announcement including some health & safety guidelines we were off on the race. Or were we… Well the start was located about a 10-15 Minute walk from the meeting point. But once we all got their the sea of highly reflective and glow stick luminous runners went away.
The route was well staffed struck a good balance of paths and trails, as well as even and hilly terrain. However the 5K did turn out to be more like 6.5K plus the little warm up walk to get to the start line. But I think for next year they are already advertising it as a 6K now. Being a fun run there was no chip timing, bibs or any of that malarky.
I really loved running at night, especially with so many other crazy lit up people it was great fun. The organisers did a great job of making it all feel very professional whilst concentrating on getting everyone to enjoy themselves.
So if you haven’t so far and get a chance in the future give the New Forest Running Festival a go it seems like a good and affordable event that has something on offer for everyone!