Run to the Beat : 2008 – 2015

Run to the Beat, first held in 2008, was the UK’s first half marathon set to musical beats. City Showcase worked with IMG as Music Festival Producer to programme and manage live music on stages that we supplied around the course.

Between 2008 and 2012, the race started from the O2 in Greenwich. It moved to Greenwich Park in 2013 and, from 2014-2015, it moved to Wembley as a 10km event. Annually thousands of runners enjoyed the music and ‘ran to the beat’.

City Showcase and IMG worked with Dr Costas Karageorghis, associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University to set a specific Beats per Minute or BPM at each stage in order to encourage the runners at a set pace as well as for entertainment. As everyone knows, music can really help runners – it helps you keep pace, keep positive and keep going – the magic of music!

City Showcase erected stages and music points and scheduled the music for the event as well as supplying a host. Headline acts included Tinie Tempah, Panjabit Hit Squad, Fiona Bevan, Annie Mac, Reggie Yates, Calvin Harris, Jessie J, Nihal Arthanayake, Nick Grimshaw, Tom Parker, Ras Kwame, Jameela Jamil and Marvin Humes.

Article written post 2008 Run to the Beat


Were you there? If not, you should have been! It was a day to remember… 5 October 2008 – the date of London’s first half marathon to music.

The wind howled through the Greenwich Peninsula – and continued down the streets of Greenwich and Woolwich – and the rain tipped down and, on top of that, horrible tube and train problems. So not a good day for sun lovers and not a good day for a fun day out watching your friends and family run and definitely not a good day for live music stages!

Notwithstanding in excess of 7,000 runners turned up with smiles on their faces and all our artists arrived ready to brave the early start and the weather to give it their all. What is it about Brits in adversity? Fortitude, determination and a sense of humour were apparent throughout!

Sony Ericsson Run to the Beat – a way to improve your performance or great craic in all weather!?

We have included some pictures here that show a bit of that day last year – spot the rain! Some of these were taken by acts and crew using disposal cameras so for atmosphere 100% – quality to be forgiven!

Anyhow, the idea is that music (and the beats in the music) acts as a stimulus to your improved physical performance – hence the thousands of us gasping along to a spin aerobics class at the gym!

We also know this to be fact as scientists have researched it in depth and have stats and case studies to show the effect of music on the body, spirit and soul. Without getting too technical – the “beats per minute” should vary around the course reflecting the stage of the race. Our event science advisor, Dr Costas has provided a course template for BPM at different stages along the track.

And it was our job to organise that…

So, music isn’t just “Viagra for runners”. Music is all-round good fun. Not only can you improve your performance at Run to the Beat, you can also enjoy great music and check out the future top artists!

And, apart from the early Sunday start, the musicians love it too! So, when you run passed them, give them a big up, cheer and wave (if you can catch your breath!) as they are there to get behind you and urge you on and would welcome the interaction.

Amongst the City Showcase stages, there will be five main stages. At the start and finish line outside the O2 Centre, The Royal Arsenal, the Royal Artillery Barracks, Greenwich Park and in Greenwich itself. Four of the stages will be genre-specific with iconic London heritage sites creating a fantastic backdrop to our urban, pop, electro and rock stages. Other stages will cover all genres of music – as long as the beat is right!

Artists performing will include some selected including through competitions via media partners: MySpace, Time Out and Kiss FM.

Also around the course, there will be CD points playing music from Dr Costas’s top 10 chart acts Playlist as well as great songs from the artists performing on the stages. At each stage there will be an increased BPM to drive you on and help you keep to your pace. Be sure to switch off your phones and iPods, listen and go with the flow.

And about that song………..for the inaugural Sony Ericsson Run to the Beat in 2008 City Showcase worked with renowned songwriter, composer and producer Bill Padley to write a theme tune for the event.

If you can’t get it out of your head – don’t blame us!

As Bill says:

‘Keep on moving in the right direction
You will have the time of your life

So get on your feet and Run to the Beat ……………….’

Enjoy the race and wave to us along the route – look out for the City Showcase T-shirts!!