The trail runner bringing running crews together from across the world by blending adventure and music festivals.
SUM UP WHAT YOU DO
I create adventure and running festivals to make our guests lives richer and wilder. It feels like pretty much anything is possible in a festival format, you can take people on a longer journey which is so exciting.
HOW DID YOUR PASSION FOR THE OUTDOORS DEVELOP?
I could probably draw a line back to spending long summer days exploring south-west Wales beaches as a child and an endless number of evenings after school building bike tracks in the local woods. Something has kept drawing me back to the outdoors. It’s become the place I go for inspiration, escape, to play and I guess for my mental health, too. I didn’t even know you could combine running and the outdoors until I discovered this amazing world of trail running a few years ago!
“Something has kept drawing me back to the outdoors.”
WHERE’S BEEN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TRAIL YOU’VE RUN?
It’s got to be the Faroe Islands this May. Simply stunning, it takes your breath away – sunset over the ocean, tallest sea cliffs in Europe… Mad, mad views!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THOSE EAGER TO GET INTO TRAIL RUNNING?
Get yourself a decent pair of trail running shoes and find some like-minded runners to explore the trails with. If you live in a big city, you should be able to find a run crew or community to run with. You should definitely try this, especially if you live in London. And obviously get a ticket to Love Trails Festival 2019!
DO YOU HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE?
I hit snooze a couple of times. Then black coffee and a half a croissant… I’m still perfecting my morning routine to be honest.
WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?
Seeing a festival coming together just as we planned it and watching hundreds of people having an incredible experience. Nothing much can beat that buzz. Saying that, I’m probably equally happiest on top of a mountain somewhere with only my wits and a paper map to get back down.
WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOUR FRIENDS USE TO DESCRIBE YOU?
Maverick, entrepreneurial, adventurous.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
A lot of people but perhaps my friend Greg Drach and my mum most of all!
WHAT PROBLEMS ARE THERE IN THE WORLD THAT YOU WANT TO SOLVE?
I want to make trail running more accessible and also influence the global running community to maybe lighten up a bit. It doesn’t have to all be about racing or beating a PB. I want to make it so an average person would feel good about going to a running festival. I see it as a problem that not enough people are trail running and getting the benefits of running in the outdoors.
If we can inspire people to get outside and take on some adventures of their own and have better, richer lives, basically, that will be awesome. With Útilív Adventure Festival in the Faroe Islands, we are trying to build the world’s most sustainable trail race and also use it as a platform to help influence sustainable tourism development in the Faroe Islands. If that can then be used as a case study or example for elsewhere our impact could be huge.
“I want to make trail running more accessible.”
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE MOST LISTENED-TO TRACKS RIGHT NOW?
Bantu Clan vs Sarabi, “Africa Ni Leo (Esa Extended Mix)”, Phairo, “Pelican” and Daniel Haaksman, “Sabado”.
HAVE YOU DONE SOMETHING RECENTLY THAT WAS A WASTE OF TIME?
I once flew all the way to Iran for a single meeting to try to set up an event out there. I came home pretty much empty handed and the meeting didn’t go to plan. It was pretty fascinating though so I guess not a total waste of time after all.
WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
“Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
WHAT’S YOUR PERFECT ENVIRONMENT FOR INNOVATION?
Simply having the head space to be able to step back and think about the bigger picture. Ideally this means not being super busy on a project, which is getting harder and harder these days… If you can combine that with going out for a run then the ideas start flowing pretty freely.
PLENTY OF PEOPLE HAVE IDEAS – HOW DO YOU GO FROM IDEA TO EXECUTION?
Build the smallest possible version of your idea and just put it out there. Get some real world feedback and then build the next biggest version. We’ve always taken that approach and it’s meant we’ve been able to move forward and build scale with our events without taking on too much risk. This way you know that what you are creating works because you can prove it from a real world test at a smaller scale.
If you think you’re onto something, surround yourself with people who have more experience than you who can provide advice in your specific market, get a decent mentor and get to work.
“Ask people to be a sounding board for ideas.”
WHAT’S THE LEAST SUCCESSFUL THING YOU’VE EVER DONE? WHY DO YOU THINK IT FAILED?
It’s always come down to a lack of experience around the thing I’m trying to do. I’ve probably been guilty of rushing in and just trying something. I’ve learnt that the best way to avoid that trap is simply to ask others who are perhaps a few years more experienced than you for advice and to be a sounding board for any new projects or ideas. It’s working so far anyway.
WHERE ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO TRAVELLING TO NEXT?
Heading back to the Faroe Islands in September for Útilív Adventure Festival!
WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE THINGS YOU WON’T TRAVEL WITHOUT?
Running shoes, a head torch and my iPad loaded with stuff to read and watch.
SHOP THE STORY ON FIXERS
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: LISA SIMPSON
ART DIRECTOR: HOLLIE MAYA
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROBERT BINDA
WORDS: BEN OLSEN