We recently headed over to the third annual instalment of Love Trails 2019 in the beautiful Gower Peninsula in Wales. As well as a whole heap of food trucks, live music, beer and running (of course) there's also an enormous amount of talks, workshops and classes going on.
The list of talent at the event was frankly just ridiculously good, with dozens of amazing speakers, from athletes and endurance adventurers to those focusing on specific areas of running fitness.
From those, a few stood out to us above the others. Here are the ones you need to get following online:
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Probably the least surprising addition to the list. Ever since Ross finished his Great British Swim his popularity has sky-rocketed to the point of international celebrity. Unlike the stars of Love Island though, there's a good reason that Ross is famous ‚Äď it's because he knows an enormous amount about fitness and the human body.
Sure, he's an extremely nice guy, but he also has a wealth of stories and knowledge about the science behind fitness. In fact, his various challenges, from climbing a rope the height of Everest to doing a triathlon carrying a tree, are all done to add insight to his research into the human body. His book, The World's Fittest Book, has been staple reading for fitness fans around the world, with a recent release of a Ross-read audiobook that's well worth a download.
Charlie's influence on the world of running goes far beyond the sport itself. From 2007 when he set up Run Dem Crew, a running collective designed to benefit its members as well as the East London community that surrounds it, he's become a figurehead for the good that running can do.
As well as being an established DJ, poet and writer, Charlie has in recent years become a devoted yogi, combining his vast knowledge of running with the mindfulness and rehabilitation techniques of yoga ‚Äď something that's earned him the position of global running ambassador for Lululemon. Not only is he one of the most creative and interesting ways to hear about running, but his outlook on the benefits of it has made him a role model for people across the world.
There aren't many characters in the world of running that have the sort of relentless energy and positivity that Danny has. On one hand, he's the guy at festivals who breakdances, crowd surfs and leaps in front of the microphone to bring a sense of infectious excitement to everyone there, on the other, he's an enormously successful spokesperson for the world of running.
As well as being a writer and speaker, Danny was the man who set up the massively popular run club Project Awesome, as well as the month long London Relay, an event that sees thousands of people run through the streets of London across the month of July. He also likes to take his clothes off for Instagram‚Ä¶
When it comes to interesting, 'outside of the box' speakers, Love Trails managed to pull together some real treats in 2019. By far one of our favourites is the Dirty Vegan, AKA Matt Pritchard. Matt's earlier career as a professional skateboarder saw him working on the popular MTV stunt show, Dirty Sanchez, a role which saw him travelling around the world for 2007 film Dirty Sanchez: The Movie.
That was then, this is now, and Matt has gone through a slight transition from global risk-taker to become a popular television chef and writer. Matt's culinary focus, if you hadn't guessed, is veganism. Why was he at Love Trails? Well, aside from his healthy food outlook, he's also quite into his fitness. As well as running the London Marathon in a mankini, he's also completed a triple Ironman event taking 54 hours. Not bad for a man who was previously known for being hit in the face with a cactus.
If you've ever suffered from some form of running injury and searched for a solution online, chances are you've probably stumbled across James. At Kinetic Revolution, he works as a sports rehabilitation therapist and coach serving up an enormous range of detailed and insightful videos to help runners improve, whether that's through training plans or carefully guided exercises to improve movement.
His series of Youtube videos covers pretty much anything a runner could need to know, from foot and ankle mobility exercises to his own personal training vlogs for various races around the world. James posts new videos each week, so make sure you subscribe to his channel here.
On her blog, Ella talks honestly about the various races and adventures she goes on around the UK and the rest of the world. That covers everything from mountain biking in Madeira to running half marathons in Limassol ‚Äď as well as a lot of updates on eating cake.
The main thing Ella talks about is something a bit more impressive though. In 2015, she set off to run 5,000 miles self-supported around the coast of the UK, carrying all her belongings on her back. She managed to complete the gargantuan challenge over the 301 days that followed. If you're looking for tips on long-distance running, Ella might know a thing or two.
Reading Simon's list of achievements is like looking through a glossary of amazing adventures. It's humbling, inspirational and a tiny bit jealousy inducing. He started started running in 2006 after putting on weight in a city job and ended up signing up to a 54-mile race across the West Highland Way in Scotland following a late night bet with a client. Previously he'd only run five miles.
Since then Simon has gone on to run in events like the 84-mile Ridgeway Challenge, the Marathon De Sables and the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. He's an avid mountaineer as well, climbing some of the highest mountains in the Americas, Africa, Europe and the Himalayas.
His latest project, Run the Wild, is a travel service that allows runners to sign up for tours around the world, from half day sessions in the UK to multi-day adventures around the world. The strap line is "Exploring places‚Ä¶ not running races", which sounds like a good idea to us.
Tickets for Love Trails 2020 are now on sale. Click here for more information.