New festival RunFestRun, held over the weekend of 31 May – 2 June, was a hit straight out of the blocks

View photos of RunFestRun

The brand new event was billed as ‘Britain’s biggest running party’ and Bowood was selected for this first family-friendly, three-day camping and running festival.

Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans announced the event as a follow-up to the success of his CarFest.

Speaking before the event he described it as “an amazing weekend of running while having a great time outdoors with friends and family.”

Vassos Alexander, co-host of RunFestRun added, “It’s basically my dream event. Chris and I developed the idea because we just want people to run, have fun and have a party. Three shiny happy days with everyone going home with a great big grin on their face.”

The inaugural RunFestRun saw thousands of families from all over the country take part in a range of running events from a half marathon, a 10k through to a bug-themed fancy dress immersive 5k fun run, set in the grounds of the beautiful Wiltshire estate.

Olympians Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram, Jo Pavey and Colin Jackson took part in races giving the chance for festivalgoers to run with their heroes.

Evans , who also took part in several races said: “We have returned leaner, meaner, fitter, lighter and shinier which is a festival first. That’s not what happens when you come back from a festival, which means that RunFestRun is already the greatest festival on our planet!

“I ran 42km and I’m not aching at all.”

Paula Radcliffe in the 10k run
Paula Radcliffe in the 10k run

Following the success of the first year, he says he has big plans in store for the event so watch this space.

2019 event

The event kicked off with ‘Feel Good Friday’ which saw Evans and Alexander introducing everyone to the four team captains Paula Radcliffe, Natasha Evans, Colin Jackson and Steve Cram. They warmed up with a light run, before rockers Razorlight and Reef took to the stage to entertain a crowd of over 6,000 festivalgoers.

Super Saturday offered a challenge for both seasoned marathon runners along with those just starting their fitness journey and culminated in an incredible party including Ten Tonnes, The Coral, Faithless DJ set and headliner, Olly Murs.

Sunday saw Bowood turn to Bugwood as a fancy dress bug themed fun run swarmed the venue. Dressed up runners took on the 5k Big Bug Run with special ‘pollen collecting’ challenges to win extra team points.

Team Butterfly Captain, Paula Radcliffe said, “What a resounding success. It was an amazing family festival of fun that has us all still smiling. There was truly something for everyone and the whole weekend proved what a wonderful and special group the running community is”.

Captain of the winning Dragonfly team, Colin Jackson said, “What an inspirational weekend, a huge pleasure being part of the inaugural RunFestRun event. It was a pure joy to see so many happy faces and so many children enjoying running. The icing on the cake of course, was my team being crowned the champions, which was never really in doubt was it, bring on the event in 2020”.

The weekend boasted a host of top talent from great sporting speakers to food fanatics, mindfulness mentors and awesome authors.

There were lots of different activities to keep the kids entertained across the weekend. From fancy dress and mask making, to sports day games and live theatre shows, so there was no chance to get bored!

Race start
Race start

The total distance run by everyone was 97,718km. To put that in perspective, the circumference of the earth is 40,075km. Not bad going for one weekend…


Ten Tonnes
The Coral
Faithless (DJ set)
Olly Murs

Speakers included:

Ben Smith
Chrissie Wellington
Jo Pavey
Sophie Raworth
Christine Ohuruogu MBE
Claire Maxed
Colin Jackson
Jamie Baulch
Dale Pinnock (The Medicinal Chef)
Danny Bent
Susie Chan
Faisal Abdalla
Fearne Cotton
Paula Radcliffe
Steve Cram
Vassos Alexander