“When did life get so complex? Why can we not just go out and have some good and healthy fun?”
Based on these thoughts Australian Kristian Hell developed the idea of the “No Such Place” festival, at running distance from Stockholm. The event combines nature, running, mindfulness and partying and is organized for two days and one night on the weekend of July 15th-16th. The location is kept secret, but is supposed to be one hours and 30 minutes outside Stockholm and can only be reached by foot.
The festival is a place for “social runners, people that are into running, having a beer and talking about life”, Hell explains to The Local. More than 100 fitness-loving people are expected to meet up in the morning and run 19 kilometres away from Stockholm to the secret location in the middle of nature. Hell expects the typical participant to be “somebody who cares about their health and likes to have a good time”, but adds “basically everybody is welcome”.
When The Local asks how the mix of partying (including perhaps a little too much alcohol and sleepless nights) and running 19 kilometres go together, Hell answers: “I don't know many people that don't like a good time, that doesn't mean they get wasted, but maybe staying up late, listening to music, interacting with people, letting loose a little bit. It's not always about getting drunk, it's up to you.”
The participants will sleep in tents and are encouraged to clean up after themselves and recycle.
“We leave no tracks. If I see one cigarette on the ground I consider that a failure,” emphasizes Hell, adding proudly: "This is also the first festival where we can say 'no' to cars.”
The "No Such Place" festival will be the first running festival in Sweden. Photo: No Such Place
Walking or running to the festival may be be challenging for some participants, but Hell promises that “you'll forget about these 19 kilometres, because we will be talking along the way and as soon as you are there you will be distracted by great music, amazing food and all that nature we are in”.
For future versions of the festival, he is also thinking about a solution for people that are physically not able to master 19 kilometres by foot. But the idea that “people should interact with each other and earn things rather than just getting them handed” is still an important part of the concepts, Hell comments.
Besides cars, meat and milk are also banned from the festival “because of the ecological footprint that the meat and milk industry leave.” Hell is also considering banning eggs from the menu in the future, but doesn't want to define it as a vegan festival: “I don't want to use the word vegan because I think it is a trendy word and we just want to do what we believe in. I don't go out with these buzzwords.”
He says he aims to unite people who are “mindful about where we at right now in the world, in terms of climate change and the ecological footprint. It is so simple just to respect nature, respect each other and yourself”.
Kristian Hell likes to combine fun and fitness. He is the founder of "No Such Place". Photo: No Such Place
The part of running together in a group and having a drink afterwards isn't new to the organizer. Hell is well known in the field of social running and started a movement in Stockholm. “I founded a running community, called Ssideline City Run Club in 2014 (…) through that community I've done some work and travelled the world to parties with running events”.
He tells the Local that the nature of the people within the social running community inspires him. “You get the amazing blend of very active people, who can run like half a marathon to marathon, but they are also people who party. People can just ha
Have fun without perfect technique and winning and that kind of thing,” he states. Traditional races are always about winning or losing, runners are competing against each other. “I think that's an old model, it needs to exist, but something else has to coexist,” he says.
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Especially in Sweden Hell thinks that people would be happier if they manage to loosen up more. That way social running – without the focus on winning and surrounded by likeminded people – could be the key to Swedish happiness, he argues.
“In Sweden so many people are stressed out because they focus too hard on something and forget about the balance, balance is everything.”
“The thing that stops most people (from running) is their own brain, their own fear about trying something new. That's why the social experience is so important.”