Final preparations are underway for the 2017 Mestival event in Northumberland.  With five weeks to go, organisers are putting the finishing touches to the programme of obstacle races, live music and food and drink, all to be hosted in the grounds of historic Hesleyside Hall on Saturday 29 July.

Mestival made its debut last year and will once again challenge participants with obstacle courses that take participants on an adventure around the grounds of Hesleyside.  The 10K race is returning and will be joined by a 5K option, ideal for people who want to try an obstacle run for the first time, and for family groups.  After the well-received 2016 races, event organisers have promised to test competitors with even more mud and water this year.

Organised by Events of the North in partnership with Hesleyside owners William and Anna Charlton, Mestival proved to be a big success in 2016.  Hundreds of adult and junior competitors from all over the North East tackled the challenging obstacle runs, which followed routes that explored the Northumberland National Park land on the estate.  

Participants included local MP Guy Opperman and scores of children from Mowden Hall School, who were all faced with a series of challenging obstacles, including pyramids of straw bales, a water and mud filled trench, a water filled tunnel, a reed swamp, muddy pit, rope climb, and the ‘Hesleyslide’.  Among the many spectators on the day was cricket star Paul Collingwood.  Runners and other visitors were also able to enjoy locally sourced food and drink and entertainment, including live music from North East singer-songwriter and Fame Academy star Alastair Griffin.

Mestival’s official charity partner for 2017 is DomFounded, a local organisation which was set up in memory of Dom Abraham from Great Whittington in Northumberland, who died suddenly in 2014 aged 40.  Dom suffered from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), the name for a group of rare inherited conditions that affect connective tissue.  Dom had decided to set up a foundation with his wife Kath, to raise funds to support community based projects at home and abroad, but died before he could put his plans into action.  However, Kath and his two young children set up DomFounded in Dom’s memory and have been raising money ever since.  DomFounded will have over 70 participants in the 10K and 5K races at Mestival.   

Mestival is the brainchild of North East athletics legend Steve Cram, who developed the idea with his son Marcus and Hesleyside’s owners William and Anna Charlton.  The 2017 event will bring back the elements that made the first event so popular with participants, with race director Marcus Cram promising to throw in some new variations to the obstacles.

Steve Cram comments:

“Last year’s Mestival was a great first event.  The feedback that we had from all those who took part was hugely positive and we’re going to make it even bigger and better in 2017.  It’s a real privilege to be able to introduce stunning Hesleyside to new visitors, even if they have to work hard – and get very muddy – while exploring the estate.  We have got some exciting plans to enhance the event this year, so participants can prepare for an even more exhilarating experience at Mestival in July.”

William Charlton comments:

“We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the first Mestival on Hesleyside Estate.  It was a great opportunity for us to share Hesleyside’s beautiful parkland, ancient woodlands and scenic moorlands with the wider public.  Running the 10K gave me a very new perspective and it was a thrilling – if exhausting – day.  Adding a 5K event to the programme will give even more visitors the opportunity to experience the delights of an obstacle run and Anna and I are really looking forward to finding out what the Events of the North team has in store for everyone.”

Guy Opperman MP comments:

“I was delighted to support this fantastic new local event at Hesleyside.  I may not have been the fittest, but I was certainly the most enthusiastic participant in the 10K obstacle run.  It was excellent to see so many people from near and far spend time in this beautiful part of the world.  I look forward to finding out what the Mestival team has in store for visitors this year.”

For more information about Mestival and to book places at the event, visit www.mestival.co.uk or email info@mestival.co.uk.  To find out more about Hesleyside, visit www.hesleysidehall.co.uk.