The second edition of the trail running festival takes place this month and event organiser Jo Cowper looks forward to an “epic” day of Trailfest action

When Jo Cowper talks about the hard work and sheer graft that goes into putting on – and trying to establish – a brand new running festival, there are no complaints. Instead, words such as ‘love’ and ‘dream’ come far more readily to one half of the duo responsible for Glasgow Trailfest, an event now in its second year and which will take place on the outskirts of the city on October 15.

Rather than wait for someone else to do it, Jo and her partner Ryan Scott – both avid runners who like nothing better than tackling off-road challenges – decided instead to set about putting together exactly the kind of festival of running that they had always wanted to exist. They launched it last September and, encouraged by the response, have produced an impressive programme for the gathering this time around.

It says a lot about the project that ‘Building the Dream’ is the theme for 2016.

The one-day schedule includes an array of coached practical sessions, expert speakers and some running thrown in – all within the beautiful setting of Mugdock Country Park, which lies just to the north of Glasgow and nestles alongside the start of the West Highland Way.

“Back in July 2015, TrailFest was just a dream,” says Jo. “We didn’t know if we could make it happen, or if anyone would believe in it if we did. We’d never done anything like it before – but, scary though it seemed, we saw that if we didn’t try, we’d never find out.

“It wasn’t easy but somehow we did it and people came. Speakers, sponsors, volunteers and guests. What’s more, they loved it; they believed in it, they supported it … and this year, they’re coming back and bringing their friends. Slowly, slowly, our dream is growing into the reality we hoped it could be.

“TrailFest is a one-day celebration of trail running that brings together runners of all abilities and experience, from ultra-distance athletes to 10km-heroes,” she says. “It’s not a race, it’s a festival: runners come together at TrailFest to train, run, share stories, ask questions and talk trails. Pure trail indulgence.

“TrailFest2  is themed ‘Building the Dream’. We’re celebrating all of the men and women out there who have pushed their limits, challenged their boundaries, and discovered their own extraordinary through lessons learned on the trail. Our 11 speakers and trainers, from record breakers and adventurers to everyday heroes, are some of the most inspiring characters we know. With them on the bill, we’re confident that TrailFest2 is going to be epic.”

» To check out the Trailfest programme and book tickets go to