Watch as we find out about Festathlon, the new festival Katarina Johnson-Thompson is bringing to Liverpool
2 years ago
Liverpool Olympian and British Record holder in the heptathlon Katarina Johnson-Thompson, or KJT as she is more fondly known, is helping to bring a unique sports and music festival to the city this September.
Festathlon will combine an athletics competition featuring Kat and some of her Team GB teammates with a line-up of amazing Merseyside music artists, all in one outdoor festival at Wavertree Athletics Park.
Just a month after she goes for heptathlon gold in Japan, it will be a celebration of her three favourite things: athletics, music and Liverpool!
The sporting showpiece will feature all seven events from Kat’s own discipline – but instead of individuals competing over two days, teams of 6 will take on the challenge between themselves and against each other.
Four teams of elite athletes will go head-to-head, with six athletes in each team competing in their specialism – hurdles, high jump, shot put, sprint, long jump and javelin. Team captains will then choose a relay squad to run the 800 metres in the form of a 4x200m relay to decide who claims the overall win.
On launching and hosting Festathlon KJT said:
“It’s amazing to be bringing elite athletics back to the City of Liverpool. It has been so long since I competed in Wavertree and it will mean so much to me to compete in front of those fans that have shown me so much support through the years. The people of the North-West really know how to create an atmosphere.
Alongside the four elite teams there’ll also be a second competition for universities featuring the University of Liverpool, JMU, University of Birmingham and Cardiff Met, who will compete for a university prize.
Once the final race is run just after 8pm, the stage will be taken over by Liverpool International Music Festival artists and athletes will take off their spikes and join in the party.
Festathlon, on Saturday September 11, is KJT’s brainchild and is being organised by Summus Sports Group and Project 30 Limited. They’ve worked alongside KJT to develop this first of its kind sporting festival.
On what she is most looking forward to at Festathlon, KJT added:
“I’m looking forward to bringing the heptathlon to life in a fun and exciting way. I love the traditional two-day event but I’m pleased to be sharing the load with my teammates this time and I’m so proud that Festathlon will celebrate female talent, both on the athletics track and on the music stage. It’s going to be a great day that I’m sure all that attend will love.”
Dan Smith, event co-Director, says ex-St Julie’s student Kat – who won the gold medal in the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar – was keen to bring elite athletics back to the city.
“Liverpool is very close to her heart, so it’s important to her to give back when she can,” he explains. “She’s an ambassador for the LFC Foundation and she has her own KJT Academy supporting young athletes in the city.
“Kat is a heptathlete which is a challenging, two day discipline so we thought rather than just bringing a traditional athletics event to Liverpool, let’s do something a bit different, something new and something that will no doubt appeal to everyone.
“September is post-Olympics so we’ll all be feeling that Olympic buzz and Festathlon will bring KJT back to Wavertree to compete for the first time since 2014, something that she is very excited about.”
Dan highlighted that the focus of the day will be on celebrating female Merseyside talent – all the athletes taking part will be women, the live music line-up put together by LIMF Academy will mostly feature up and coming female musicians, such as Jazmine Johnson, and the presenters hosting the day will be famous female sporting heros from past Olympics.
“There’s so much talent here, we really want to celebrate it,” he adds.
“This will be a homecoming for Kat, to compete and bring some friends with her, put some music on and have a good time.
“It’s the end of the season for the elite athletes so Festathlon will probably be the last thing they do before they take a break.
“After it had to be postponed last year, the Olympics has been a long time coming and it is the pinnacle of the sport. We’re going to be bringing some of those athletes and their skills to Wavertree but we’ll be keeping it a lot more fun!
“KJT competes in the hepathlon on Aug 4 and 5 and then the Games finish on Aug 8 so this, a month after the Games finish, will be a real chance for the athletes to have one last challenge and hopefully a bit of a celebration of everything they have achieved this year.
“It’s been a difficult and complicated year for athletes and fans alike, so we’re excited to bring Festathlon to Liverpool and we hope the city will be excited to see it too.”