“Being away from my usual training regime does get to me,” says Louis Jensen, a 31-year-old artist manager and producer from London. “A sense of panic arises about how my body will look and feel after three days of no gym access and lack of food options. Being able to keep fit and healthy is a challenge.”
Glastonbury may have a reputation for more hedonistic pursuits than HIIT routines, but that hasn’t deterred festivalgoers such as Jensen from doing what they can to keep in shape. By Saturday morning, he had already completed two 15km runs and did another 10km on Sunday, along with an extensive daily regime of exercises. He is also on a strict diet of juice and soup, and doesn’t plan on having any “cheat days”. “Although it’s a pretty heavy regime,” he says, “it just doesn’t cut it fully for me. I need weights, I need my bike to ride for my quads,” he says. “I struggle mentally to see the gains I desire without my full exercise equipment, so there can’t be any days off while I’m here.”
It helps that there are numerous exercise groups over the weekend, from a 5km organised run on the Thursday (which 105 people took part in), to numerous yoga classes of varying disciplines, from laughing to power ballad.
Ali Jackson, a 41-year-old substance misuse worker based in Stoke, is running a 100km ultra marathon with her partner next month, so keeping fit at Glastonbury is essential. “We don’t want to undo all the hard work,” she says. “We’ve got to stay as fit as we can while we’re here.” So far, Jackson has taken part in the 5k run and covered five miles in her six-hour litter-picking shift, which started at 6am. She has also brought protein powder with her and has been trying to eat healthily. “There’s so much lovely food here, it would be easy to go mad,” she says. “But I’m on a programme with a nutritionist and he said a week of bingeing could do a lot of damage.”
For Carrie Hall, running also has social and practical benefits, considering this is her first time at Glastonbury. “I thought it would be a really cool way to get to see different things,” she says. As well as taking part in the 5km – one of the highlights of her weekend – she has also scaled the climbing wall. No mean feat in 27C heat.
Becki Clark, a 25-year-old junior doctor, has been running every day so far. Although she has found the heat limiting, she has also managed to play football with her friends. For her, it is not about fitness. “Running is what I do, it’s how I keep sane, it’s how I deal with stress, how I deal with everything. It’s the best way to start a day.” When Clark was at Glastonbury in 2017, she didn’t run and was left feeling lethargic and stressed. It didn’t help that university exams were looming. “I remember going on a run late on the day I got back and just being so relieved.”
It may not be the most conventional Glastonbury activity, but keeping fit clearly has its benefits. There is one downside, though. “The lack of showers,” says Shaza Brannon, a 35-year-old chartered town planner. After taking part in the 5km on Thursday, she felt she didn’t need one, “just a wash and I thought I smelt perfectly fine.” However, by Saturday morning, the situation had deteriorated. “My mates told me I had to have a shower, so my husband sloshed water over my head.”